Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category

Indie Saturday – Author Jennifer Becton on her book ‘Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice’ @JenniferBecton

November 17, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Jennifer Becton featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her second historical novel ‘Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice‘ (following the success of her debut novel Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice).

Jennifer is the founder of Whiteley Press, an independent publishing house, and has also written the six-book Southern Fraud Thriller Series under the pseudo-pseudonym of J. W. Becton.

Jennifer Becton writes :

Top 5 Reasons Caroline Bingley Is a Great Character for a Sequel

I hear what you’re thinking: Caroline Bingley as the hero of her own Pride and Prejudice sequel? Jennifer, what are you smoking? She’s horrible! Just think of what she said to Elizabeth and how she treated Jane. Why should anyone want to read a book about her?

Well, I’ll tell you my top 5 reasons for deciding to write about dear, sweet Caroline, and you can decide if you want to read a book about her.

5. Caroline speaks her mind. Sure, she may not always say the nicest things, but at least she is willing to make her opinions known. In Elizabeth Bennet, we find pert opinions to be a benefit. In Caroline, not so much. Caroline was happy to speak negatively of the Bennet’s vulgar relations and on many other similar subjects of decorum and dress, but in reality, her opinions on wealth and status were not dissimilar to those held by many people in the Regency period. She was an outspoken product of her time and social influences.

4. Caroline is funny. Consider her attempts to woo Mr. Darcy while he demonstrates his letter-writing prowess: “You write uncommonly fast,” “I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend one for you. I mend pens remarkably well,” and “Do you always write such charming long letters to [Georgiana], Mr. Darcy?” (Austen, P&P, ch. 10). Okay, so she may not be intentionally funny, but that is comic gold!

3. Caroline is complex. Caroline is “of a respectable family in the north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on [her memory] than that [her] brother’s fortune and [her] own had been acquired by trade” (Austen, P&P, ch. 4). Caroline has a secret. She is a wannabe. She may have money, but it was not gained through socially acceptable channels, and she is trying to hide her lowly past. That’s conflict and it makes for good reading and interesting character development.

2. Caroline is flawed. Mr. Darcy and Caroline were very much alike when they were introduced in Pride and Prejudice: “Darcy was continually giving offense,” and he said many unkind things about Elizabeth’s family and relations. He even participated in the plan to separate Jane and Bingley. However, he mended his ways. Caroline did many of the same things, but she never saw the error of her ways. Caroline has lots of room to grow and overcome her flaws just as Darcy did.

1. Caroline doesn’t mess around. She acts. She may not always do the right thing, but at least she is doing something. She does what she believes is best for her family. There is no dithering or whining. She sees a need and she acts upon it. That is just what we love in a heroine.

So Caroline Bingley may not be the most obvious choice for a heroine, especially because her goals in Pride and Prejudice were in direct conflict with Elizabeth’s. She was the antagonist, but not a true villainess who was out plotting her opponent’s destruction. She just wanted what she wanted, and she tried to make her desires come to fruition. She failed in all ways.

Did Caroline learn from her mistakes? Did she end up marrying a stuffy, old aristocrat? Or did she learn the joys of love?

If you’d like to read a free sample of Caroline Bingley, please visit Scribd (Also embedded below). Caroline is available in ebook and paperback formats at Amazon and in paperback at BN and other online retailers.

Also, please visit Jennifer Becton on her website:, Facebook and Twitter.

You can also check out Jennifer Becton’s Amazon Author’s page for more info and check out her other books!


Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice” after the jump!

Read more…

Indie Saturday – Author Kathleen Valentine on “The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood”

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Kathleen Valentine on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ feature with her book “The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood” (Available at Amazon). This novella (a mixture of folklore, tradition and good old-fashioned romance) is a sure bet to be a welcome addition to anyone’s treasured library of Christmas stories!

Author Kathleen Valentine tells us the Belsnickel Story:

I grew up in a Pennsylvania Dutch community where many traditions brought from the “Old Country” were very much a part of our lives. I grew up among story-tellers who gathered on porches and in living rooms and around kitchen tables, almost always with good home-cooked food and cold beer, to tell stories – many of them passed down through generations. When I wrote my first novel, The Old Mermaid’s Tale, the main character, Clair, was a girl, much like myself, who loved listening to those stories and who wanted to preserve them for the future.

One of the traditions I most treasured in our community is known as Belsnickel, celebrated on December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas. When I was a child Belsnickel night was anticipated with excitement and, of my seven siblings with children, only three of them have preserved the tradition for the next generation. For years I have worried that the Belsnickel legend would fall into obscurity. Over the years I tried to write about the custom but everything I wrote always sounded like a textbook recounting of a quaint bit of folklore. What I wanted to do was create a story that could stand on its own and be of interest to people who had never heard of the tradition while subtly introducing the Belsnickel tradition and how it works.

Then I had an idea, why not create a fictional town rooted in the atmosphere and environment of the Pennsylvania town I grew up in, populated with characters who were people readers could relate to, and tell the story of their attempt to keep a beloved tradition alive? So Marienstadt was born. I created Marienstadt as a Pennsylvania Dutch community that was the home of immigrants from Bavaria, the Rhine River Valley, and the Alsace districts of what was to become Germany. Now, a few generations later, the descendants of those immigrants live contemporary lives filled with contemporary challenges but some of them still honor the traditions their families cherished.

So I created three friends who’d known each other all their lives. Oliver Eberstark is descended from the German immigrant who built the first sawmill on the river that runs through Opelt’s Wood. As a young man he was handsome, athletic, and a local heart throb. His best friend was Nicholas Bauer who was born on the Feast of Saint Nicholas and always loved the Belsnickel traditon. Their other friend was Dan Fritz. The three friends graduated high school and scattered but now some fifteen years later, Oliver and Nick are back in Marienstadt. Nick is now Father Nick, a Catholic priest and pastor of St. Walburga’s Parish. Oliver is a misanthropic recluse who lives alone in his great-grandfather’s mill and keeps to himself. No one knows why he is so changed.

Father Nick enlists the aid of their old friend Dan’s younger sister, Gretchen, who runs a quilting shop in town, to help revive the Belsnickel tradition for the children of the parish. He also decides that getting Oliver to play the part of Belsnickel would be good for him and perhaps help him come back into the community. Setting up this dynamic proved to be quite exciting because the characters and their story were complete fiction but framing them in the context of my own early life experiences provided seemingly endless riches on which to draw. The food, the way people talk, the sense of community, the habits, everything came flooding back as I wrote. This is a world I know so well and yet never wrote about before.

The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood has provided me with the opportunity to tell a charming, romantic love story flavored with the culture I grew up in and, at the same time, offer readers a glimpse into an ancient tradition that I hope will survive for future generations. I’ve been so enthralled by the process of creating this world that I have started two more stories in the same setting featuring recurring characters. We’ll see where this goes. That’s one of the joys of writing fiction – you can follow your fancy and be continually astonished by where it takes you.

Kathleen Valentine currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest seaport.

The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood by Kathleen Valentine is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition (with a free sample). You can also check out her Amazon author’s page for a list of all her books. You can also get in touch with the author via: Facebook, Twitter, Website and Blog.


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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt’s Wood” after the jump!

Read more…

Several FREE Kindle E-books for Download!

May 3, 2010 Leave a comment

So, how many of you have bought a Kindle? Well, time to fill it up with freebies! Here are a couple that are available for FREE download right now! Only for a limited time, of course.

(If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry, you can still read the free books! Just download the Kindle for the PC, Kindle for the iPhone/iPod Touch or Kindle for BlackBerry!)

The Killing Room‘ by John Manning is available for FREE download on the Amazon Kindle site. Just click here to download!

Book Description:

Once You Enter

Old houses have their secrets. The Young residence — a beautiful Maine mansion overlooking the Atlantic–is no exception. But the secrets here are different. They can kill. . .

The Only Way Out

Carolyn Cartwright, private detective and ex-FBI agent, has been hired by Howard Young to investigate a string of gruesome family deaths. The crimes are horrific, brutal, and senseless. And the time has come for the killing to begin again. . .

Is To Die

One by one, members of the Young family are chosen to die. Old and young, weak and strong, no one is safe from a killer with a limitless thirst for revenge. And the only way for Carolyn to uncover the shocking truth is to enter the room no one has ever left alive — and make herself the next target. . .

Click on the next page to get the other free kindle novels!

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

FREE E-Book Download (iPhone or iPod Touch only) – ‘The Graduate’ by Charles Webb

January 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, that’s ‘The Graduate’ – the book that 1968 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft was based on. This e-book is only available for the iPhone or iPod Touch though. You can download it for FREE for a limited time from App Shopper or the iTunes app store.

Note that the ebook is actually an app, and uses the BeamItDown iFlow Reader. Haven’t tried it yet – but the reader sounds intriguing.

Instead of paging, the BeamItDown iFlow Reader scrolls text much like a teleprompter. Large, easy to read text scrolls by smoothly as you read. The precise scrolling speed is controlled by subtly tilting the device, which quickly becomes very intuitive and natural. You can personalize your reading experience by selecting the paper color, text color, text size, and the font that you prefer to create a truly enjoyable reading experience.

Book Description:

The novel dramatizes the post-graduate blues of Benjamin Braddock, an appealing young man of great promise who would seem to have everything going for him. Returning to his parents’ home after graduation to ponder his future in the real world, he is depressed. The only thing that rallies him is the attention of Mrs. Robinson, the bored but attractive wife of his father’s law partner. Mrs. Robinson makes a play for Benjamin, and he responds. Their affair is far from passionate but it is intense. It continues until Benjamin rediscovers the Robinsons’ beautiful daughter Elaine. He falls in love with her but Mrs. Robinson, in a jealous rage, destroys the relationship by telling her daughter of her affair with Benjamin. He is undeterred, following Elaine and forcing her to acknowledge him even as she prepares to marry someone else. For the first time, it seems, Benjamin knows what he wants, and he pursues her right to the altar.

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FREE Audiobook – The Brothers Karamazov (Abridged) by Fyodor Dostoevsky

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

For the month of December, you can download ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ (Abridged) by Fyodor Dostoevsky (narrated by Simon Vance) for FREE from


  1. Sign up for an account at (They don’t ask for credit card information)
  2. Go to this page (The Brothers Karamazov)
  3. Add the book to the cart, enter the coupon code DEC2009
  4. Download as MP3, M4B or WMA!


Fyodor Dostoevsky’s crowning life work, The Brothers Karamazov, stands among the greatest novels in world literature. His exploration of faith, doubt, morality, and the place of suffering in life are equaled in no other work of literature, save the Bible.

The book explores the possible role of four brothers in the unresolved murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov. At the same, it carefully explores the personalities and inclinations of the brothers themselves. Their psyches together represent the full spectrum of human nature, and continuum of faith and doubt. Ultimately this novel seeks to understand the real meaning of existence and includes much beneficial philosophical and spiritual discussion that moves the reader towards faith.

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Read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith Online Full

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Browse Inside this book

Get this for your site

Book Description:

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

I loved this book (and Francie Nolan) so much as a young teen, so much so that my personal copy looks terribly bed-ragged. I wanted so much to be Francine’s real-life friend (I identified with her love of books for one) 🙂 and was so inspired by the family’s story. If you have somehow missed out on reading this book, here’s an opportunity to read it in full on-line!

Click on the widget above or here to be able to read the novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in its entirety online (hurry, since it’s not indicated when this offer expires).

It’s not really a free e-book in the sense that you can download and read later at your leisure, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

The site uses “Browse Inside” technology and looks like pages of pdf actually. Very easy to use and the pages are set at 100% with clear font, so it’s no biggie 🙂 And if you like it, buy A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!

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