Jane Austen Lied to Me by Jeanette Watts – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanette Watts will award a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Dear Diary,

In three years of college, there are seven times my life seemed to suddenly turn into a Jane Austen novel; seven times my life, instead of becoming a romance, turned into a made-for-TV drama.

What am I doing wrong?

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

Boys are just plain confusing.

I walked into Spanish class today, and there was Ken!

He grinned at me when I walked in. “Hola, stranger!”

“Hola!” I tried to look glad to see him. “What are you doing here?”

“I transferred sections. How did you expect me to get through Spanish without my practice buddy? It’s more fun being in class with you. I didn’t have class during this time, so I switched.”

Why, oh why did he have to be spoken for? The gesture was so sweet and… dare I say it? Romantic. What guy changes his class schedule for a girl? Talk about giving me mixed messages.

So, once again, I’m the ‘buddy.’ Just like with Eddie. Oh, goody. Well, a girl needs friends, right? I should just enjoy the fact that I have some smart, cute guy friends. Maybe they’ll eventually hook me up with some smart cute friend of theirs.

I smiled at Ken and tried to put a good face on it. “That’s great! I’ve been missing you, too.” As soon as I said it, I had to wonder if that’s a lie or the truth. I’m not sure.

“To be honest, my grades have been suffering without you to coach me. It’s only six weeks into the semester, and I’m already worrying about my grade,” he grinned at me. “I’m here so that you can whip me back into shape.”

The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I didn’t know you were into whips.”

He gave me this look back that couldn’t get much more flirtatious. “I’m into all kinds of things.”

“Including girls that are good at Spanish?” If he’s going to flirt, I’m going to flirt back.

About the Author: Jeanette Watts has written three Jane Austen-inpsired novels, two other works of historical fiction, stage melodramas, television commercials, and humorous essays for Kindle Vella.

When she is not writing, she is either dancing, sewing, or walking around in costume at a Renaissance festival talking in a funny accent and offering to find new ladies’ maids for everyone she finds in fashionably-ripped jeans.

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Buy the book for only $0.99 at Amazon.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Jeanette Watts – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanette Watts will be awarding a crazy quilt tea cosy to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to handle negative criticism

I have met quite a few authors who are terrified of negative reviews and/or criticism. A negative critique is a rejection of them personally, and this is devastating to their soul.

Being a writer is going to require a thicker skin than that.

There is nothing on this earth that is liked by absolutely everyone. Black licorice? I love it. Easter is great, I get ALL the black jelly beans. Carrots? Who doesn’t love carrots? Well, me. More for everybody else. You can have my share. Spicy food? There’s a reason restaurants have sliding scales of spice levels.

Tastes in reading are no different. I don’t read horror stories. I don’t read crime novels. I don’t even read science fiction anymore. And most people don’t read the kinds of historical biographies that I gobble up.

The first time I got a bad review on my first book, I laughed with glee! The writer of the review didn’t like my main character, the one that everybody else was in love with. This guy reacted differently, probably due to his own personal experiences, and did not approve of some of the very behaviors other people found justifiable. In real life, no one is universally liked by everyone. I had just succeeded in writing into existence a person that is true to real life.

There IS a difference between reading tastes, and suggestions on improving your writing. That reviewer’s opinion was about my character. It wasn’t that I did a poor job fleshing out the character, he just didn’t like the fact that I had taken the romance novel trope of woman marrying a man she doesn’t love, and then falling in love with him by the end, and turning it on its ear. My hero is forced to get married. And he doesn’t fall in love with her. Not even close. Some people don’t WANT their tropes twisted out of shape. That’s a matter of taste, and that’s fine.
Good suggestions on improving your writing, however, is not a time for laughter and dismissal. That’s the time to be listening. Negative criticism, at least when it’s not just people being a jerk, is not to make you feel bad about yourself. It makes you a better writer.

I do not use a professional editor, because I am surrounded by a lot of friends who are all wicked smart. Smarter than me. And they love me enough to NOT let me publish something and make a fool of myself, so when I give them a copy of the manuscript and a red pen, and I am trusting them to not let me make a fool of myself, they really use the red pens if needed. After the first ten pairs of eyes, there’s usually not much left to correct. The next ten pairs of eyes mostly find the typos. Inevitably, some error manages to evade absolutely everyone, and I cringe when I find it a year later.

The tricky part is knowing the difference of when to listen to the criticism, and when to ignore it. That requires a bit of a thick skin, and some trust in yourself, and some trust in others.

How much would you gamble for true love? Jane Fairfax dreaded her future as a governess. But genteel solitude seemed her fate. Then handsome, charming, rich Frank Churchill asked to marry her – IF his rich aunt agreed. If their secret engagement was discovered, Jane would be ruined. Frank seemed worth the risk; but the stakes got higher when the aunt refused her consent!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Mr Churchill caught the end of one of the long ribbons from her bonnet, which were flying madly in the strong breeze. He toyed with it for a long while, then looked up into her eyes. “Do you believe in love at first sight?” he asked.

“No, I don’t suppose I do,” Jane answered. Her heart started beating harder. That was a lie. Maybe her breath was catching in her throat because she was lying: she fell in love with him the moment she saw him, rescuing the poor store clerk. Or maybe it was because he was standing so close to her, just on the other end of her bonnet ribbon. She felt her cheeks growing warm, and tried to talk herself out of blushing. He was not standing any closer to her than when they danced together, or sat on the same bench at the pianoforte. Why should it fluster her that he was wrapping the end of her bonnet ribbon around his fingers like that?

“Neither did I.” He tied a knot into the very end of the ribbon, then caught the other flying ribbon, and did the same to its end. “I thought love requires mutual respect and understanding, and complementary temperaments that can only be discovered with a judicious application of time and conversation.”

Jane hid her trembling hands inside her muff. She wished there was a way to hide the fact that she was trembling all over. “I understood you from the first moment I saw you,” she admitted, her voice little more than a whisper.

About the AuthorJeanette Watts has written three Jane Austen-inpsired novels, two other works of historical fiction, stage melodramas, television commercials, and humorous essays for Kindle Vella.

When she is not writing, she is either dancing, sewing, or walking around in costume at a Renaissance festival talking in a funny accent and offering to find new ladies’ maids for everyone she finds in fashionably-ripped jeans.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

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A Woman’s Persuasion by Jeanette Watts – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a Cameo Necklace to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would you do for a second chance at a perfect love?

Anne’s privileged family forced her to break off her romance with Freddie Wentworth, an Air Force pilot; they didn’t approve. Almost eight years later, Freddie is back in her life. Can they rekindle an old flame? Or is there too much hurt and misunderstanding in the way?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

New York was full of public green spaces: Prospect Park close to the Musgrove house, Green-Wood Cemetery near the dry cleaners, and of course Central Park in Manhattan.

She had gone to see an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then went for a long walk on the endlessly winding trails, when she happened upon Henry and Louis walking with Freddie.

“Anne!” Henry exclaimed. “What on earth are you doing, walking alone in Central Park?”

Anne gave them a nonchalant shrug. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m walking alone in Central Park.”

Louis took her arm. “You idiot! Well, you’re going to have to stick with us.” He gestured at Freddie. “Have you met Anne? She’s our brother’s wife’s sister.”

“We met at your brother’s house, and we already ascertained that we went to Cornell at the same time,” Freddie nodded civilly to Anne.

“Hello,” Anne answered her nod with a weak smile.

“We’re asking for details about Freddie’s glamorous career as a pilot. She’s frustratingly close-mouthed about everything,” Henry complained.

“Well, you know military personnel can’t say much about what they’re doing. Why are you asking?” Anne chastised the both of them. Her eyes met Freddie’s for a moment, and Anne’s voice dried up and withered away to nothing. She remembered when she was the one asking Freddie the questions, and Freddie would answer her with a laugh, “Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Well, what I can tell you is that the recruiters really aren’t lying when they say ‘It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure,’ ” Freddie offered.

About the Author:

Jeanette Watts was happily writing historical fiction when she got the idea for her first Jane Austen-inspired novel, Jane Austen Lied to Me. Going to a JASNA event to work on selling that book, she attended a lecture that asked, “Why does everyone rewrite Pride and Prejudice so much more than her other novels? Why doesn’t anyone rewrite Persuasion?”

So she had to…

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How I Handled the Research for the Book by Jeanette Watts – Guest Blog and Giveaway

VBT_TourBanner_WealthAndPrivilege copy

MediaKit_CommenterPrizeThis post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How I handled the research for the book
by Jeanette Watts, author of Wealth and Privilege

Research is fun and yummy, and that’s half the fun of being a historic fiction writer!

When I was in graduate school, I had to take a course on library research. One of the first things the professor said was, “When you have a big research project, the first thing you do is make friends with the librarian.” Some of the most important writing advice I’ve ever gotten.

I started writing Wealth and Privilege 16 years ago. The internet then wasn’t like it is now! Back then, I couldn’t just Google the census records for Johnstown in 1880. I had to go to the Johnstown library and spend a few days making friends with the librarian… and the newspapers, and the maps, etc. The reason the Washburn A mill explosion of 1878 shows up in my book is because I spent some quality time at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. I went to high school in Minnesota, I wanted to put in some sort of connection to a part of my past. Since for forces of plot, I needed an industrial accident of some sort, it was perfect. And, of course, it’s one more juicy bit of history to add, which makes the story all the more believable.

The most significant libraries where I spent vast amounts of time are the Pennsylvania Room at the Carnegie Library and the Heinz History Center archives in Pittsburgh. Both places were treasure troves of maps, biographies, newspapers, city directories, census records, etc. And the archivists and librarians were gold mines. My favorite story happened at the Heinz Archives. I had a scene with a lot of blanks to fill in. I walked up to the archivist, and I said, “If I’m rich, and I live on Penn Avenue, and it’s 1880, and I get sick, who is my doctor?” He looked up at me, thought for just a moment, then said, “Dr. McClelland. I’ll get you his file.” That file box held all sorts of treasures. I have held in my hand the anonymous letter that went with the donation that started Shadyside Hospital. (It doesn’t show up in my book, but it was still cool!) I was able to make sketches of the hospital where my characters went. I even have the address.

Almost a year later, I was back at the Heinz while they had an exhibit of clothing from the 1800s. I’m a costumer, I’ve been to the Costume Museum in Bath, and the First Ladies exhibit at the Smithsonian, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I never miss the chance to see more samples of the real thing! (That is why I can also describe the clothing throughout the book with a great degree of comfort. I’ve seen the real thing, and I’ve made many imitations.) And then, there among the ladies’ dresses, was a man’s frock coat. The tag read, “Dr. David McClelland.” I was so excited, I felt like I’d found an artifact that belonged to my own relative. It wasn’t just a name on a tag. I knew this man through that archival box.

I’m working on the sequel now, and the research is entirely different! If you want to see the First Ladies’ gowns from the Smithsonian, there’s a whole webpage about them. Census records are online. Photo collections from archives are online. In a way, it’s unfortunate. I needed to spend time researching information on Colorado and several parts of Europe. Once upon a time, it would have required a trip out to visit a librarian. Now I can get most of the answers while I stay at home.

MediaKit_BookCover_WealthAndPrivilegeMoney. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion – or the lack thereof. Sex — or, once again, the lack thereof.

Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can’t stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can’t have. Talk about bad planning. He feels like a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him.

A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Irritating his mother wasn’t specifically Thomas’ favorite hobby. She did, however, seem to excel at providing him with opportunities to do so. He didn’t have to try very hard. His very existence was an obvious irritant to her. It wasn’t because of who he was – Thomas knew perfectly well it was all about what he wasn’t.

He wasn’t everything his older brother Benjamin had been; quick and clever and charming and talkative. The entire Baldwin family – especially his mother, Eugenia Baldwin, aspiring family matriarch and his most verbal critic – admitted that Thomas was the much more handsome of the two. Then everyone shrugged. Pretty is as pretty does.

Thomas had to agree on that point. He gladly would have traded his bright blue eyes and much-admired dark hair for the ability to know what to say to people.

He stood at the entrance to the ballroom in his parents’ house, surrounded by giggling girls all wishing him a happy birthday with their dance cards not-so-subtly dangling from their wrists. Trying to smile, he offered his hand to accept the little pencils and sign the blasted things.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_WealthAndPrivilegeJeanette Watts has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.

When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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