Peculiar Ramblings Guest Post: Melanie Schertz – The Good, the Bad, and the Really Disturbing

Melanie Schertz is a retired crime scene/lab technician who now spends time reading Pride and Prejudice variations, making jewelry, and most importantly, spending time with her children and grandchildren, as well as her dog, Mr Darcy, and her cat, Lizzy. Mr Darcy is being trained as a mobility assistance service dog.

Melanie has published nineteen Pride and Prejudice variation books, and all can be found on Amazon. Her blog is:



The Good, The Bad, and the Really Disturbing
By Melanie Schertz

It is easy to see the villains in most of Austen’s stories.  Many of them are so obvious, it is almost like a neon light above their heads which reads “BAD NEWS”.

We look at Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.  He is the sort to live in the moment, have all the fun he can, and place blame on everyone but himself.  He got a girl pregnant, and rather than admit he made a mistake, he blames his sudden removal from Marianne to be due to his aunt’s decision to bless someone else with the living he thought he would inherit.  He placed Marianne’s reputation in jeopardy due to his “party boy” behavior, with no concern for her, which is clear when he runs off, not explaining anything to her.  Had he told her that he could not marry her, due to financial difficulties, and that he had to marry someone else for wealth, Marianne would have been able to move forward.  But then he would have had to deal with reality. And reality is not fun at times.  He is sort of an obvious bad guy who is so good, you love to hate him.

In Persuasion, there are so many “bad guys”, mainly in Anne Elliot’s family and her mother’s friend, Lady Russell.  They place Anne in a position of inferiority, and demand that she must wait on them and take care of their needs above her own.  I, for one, wanted to smack Anne’s father and her sisters, especially Mary.  Boo hoo, pity party, when their bad behavior is what put them into the position which Anne was expected to fix for them.  No one in her family wants Anne to find a life of her own, and especially do not want her to be happy.  If Anne were happily married and living her own life, it would take away from what she could do for them.  And Lady Russell is a snob, pure and simple.

Mansfield Park shows us the evil siblings who come to visit the neighborhood.  My favorite part is when Mary Crawford blames Fanny Price for Mary’s brother, Henry, running off with Fanny’s married cousin, Maria Rushworth.  According to Mary Crawford, had Fanny given Henry the encouragement he wanted, and accepted his offer of marriage, Henry would never have run off with a married woman.  Yet he had had an ongoing “relationship” with Maria even before she married Mr Rushworth.  The sort of young man he was, flirting with an engaged woman under the nose of her family and her intended, tells me that, even if Fanny had married him, Henry would not have kept himself faithful to her.  But it is Fanny’s fault for not putting herself in such a marriage.  I can understand that…NOT!  Maria Rushworth and Henry Crawford deserve each other, leave Fanny alone.

And now, let’s look at my personal favorite, Pride and Prejudice.  You have so many “baddies” to deal with in this story.  You have the obvious baddies, such as Caroline Bingley, Mr Collins, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  Then you have the sneaky baddie in George Wickham.  Wickham, to me, is the sort who is most disturbing.  He is a manipulator, cool and suave, knowing just how to turn someone’s opinion to his favor.  He is the sort who could sell sand to a camel (or as I like to say, the stereotypical used car salesman).  Wickham is able to use your feelings against you, and that is disturbing in my book.  Mr Collins is obviously a stupid, greasy, toady, and we can’t help but hate him and his boot licking attitude.  Lady Catherine is obnoxious and overbearing, and again, easy to dislike.  And yes, Caroline Bingley is easy to dislike, yet, of the group, she is easy to understand, due to her mindset.  It is easy to look at someone who, like many at the time in history, were looking to improve their lives and escape their lower beginnings.  Who wouldn’t want security and respect?  Caroline wanted both in the package of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy.  And though I don’t like her, I can understand why she can be a baddie.

So, out of all the baddies I have listed, I would have to give the April Fools award for most disturbing and devious baddie would have to go to…. (drumroll please)… George Wickham.  His prize is a one way trip to France during the war (Australia is too good for him).


Peculiar Ramblings Game: Austen’s Fools

Hello friends!

We’ve got another quiz for you this time, and it’s a challenging one! Even I almost made a mistake, and I made the quiz!! I hope you enjoy it! Drop us a line and tell us how you did. My time was 9 minutes 11 seconds, and Eileen’s was 8 minutes 17 seconds. 🙂




Another New Cover!!

As I explained in my last blog post, when I first started publishing I didn’t really have a set “style” for my book covers, but after a while that style seemed to emerge. So in an attempt to have all my books look similar, I am redoing some of the older ones.


This time it is the book – Just to Hear ‘I Love You’ – that got a new look!




I know this process doesn’t interest everyone, but it does some, so if I bore you then I apologize now.


The original cover gave me fits from the start. This is one cover where I learned the hard way that what was in my mind was never going to happen on the cover unless I hired an artist, and that I couldn’t afford. The story centers on Mary Bennet, and tells of her struggles and pitfalls, as well as triumphs, as a deaf girl in the Regency era. So I wanted the cover to convey her essence. But, alas, that never emerged with the first cover. It was nice – pretty colors, and in print especially it looks nice, but it was not ‘Mary’ to me.


So when I was on the search of an idea for a new cover, this image stood out to me. It has a quality of pensiveness that is very Mary-esque, don’t you think? So after getting the opinion of my friend, and her agreeing with me, I decided to go for it and use this picture for the book.


The colors for this one came about simply because I love this color combination. I have never liked pink, and this is far from that, and yet still feminine – again a Mary quality from the story.



And so the new cover was born! I had such fun creating this one – and had to change a few things about the letters and brightness so it could be seen, especially on smaller devices. It has worked out to be one of my favorites! I am now very glad I decided to update this book!


I hope you agree as well!!


The eBook will be updating for you soon automatically. If you own a copy of the old version in print and would like to exchange it for this one, please contact me by either email ( or on facebook about the details.


If you do not yet have this book, here is a little about it as well as the links to purchase it!


Just to Hear ‘I Love You’

An Alternate Tale of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’

Mary Bennet’s life forever changes when a childhood accident leaves her isolated in a silent world. Her sister Elizabeth emerges as her fiercest champion and unstinting protector. When further tragedy befalls Longbourn, Aunt and Uncle Gardiner embrace their orphaned nieces into their London household.Mary and Elizabeth must face the disapprobation of London society as they endure a Season of intense scrutiny. Will Mary’s own dearest wish— just to hear ‘I love you’ —ever come to be, or will being deaf forever consign her to life apart? The sisters must face their past and Mary’s worst critic when another family’s tragedy lands directly on their doorstep. Will they have the strength to endure for the sake of another? 
September 29, 2014
ISBN: 1500734012
ISBN-13: 978-1500734015
ASIN: B00MWC9370
Print Length: 428 pages
Available in Trade Paperback and eBook from the following retailers:
Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | CreateSpace


Announcing New Covers – And a FREEBIE!!

Chosen (Leaving Bennet Behind #1) was one of my first books to go out on the market, so since adding to my library has changed the style of my covers, I wanted to update this series as well.


So here we go – brand new, hot off the presses covers for the first two in the Leaving Bennet Behind series – Chosen and Cherished – as well as the soon to come #3, Pursued. (It should be out in April!!)

eBook covers:


Print book covers (#3 of course is not completed yet):Covers-Image-LBB-print-1


If you have purchased any of this series in print before now with the old covers, and wish to have the new ones instead, please contact me about an exchange. (Facebook pm or email:


And also, as promised, there is a FREEBIE!!! The eBook version of Chosen is now marked down to FREE on Amazon and Kobo, and hopefully Barnes & Noble soon to come. There is no telling how long I will leave it at this price, so get it while you can!

New Author Leenie Brown!

I remember it well the night I first met the now famous Leenie Brown. It was a dark and stormy night…


Ok, so maybe it wasn’t so dramatic as that. I don’t remember the exact night we met, but it was one evening when something drew us both to Chat on the A Happy Assembly board. We hit it off from the start though, and have since formed a great friendship – I would even call her one of my best friends, even though we have never actually met.


It is such a wonderful moment for me now to introduce you to Ms Eileen Brown, or as she will soon be better known – Leenie Brown, Author!!




I have had to privilege these last seven months to have Eileen as one of the five contributing members of the Peculiar Ramblings Newsletter. She is a true gem with her pen, as well as her spatula, and likes to whip up the recipes we feature just to test them out before they go out to our public every month.


It is a great honour to now call her a published author! Her first book, Oxford Cottage, is a wonderful tale of our favorite Pride & Prejudice characters, told in a unique and fascinating variation from the original.



On a rainy day in April, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley stop to ask a gentleman for directions to Netherfield since the ones they have been given appear to be faulty. At the gentleman’s insistence Darcy and his friend seek refuge from the rain at a nearby cottage. The young woman who greets them captivates Darcy with both her beauty and character. Elizabeth Bennet possesses a quick mind and a determined spirit. She is resolved to complete the challenge her father has set before her at Oxford Cottage. However, she does not expect to be met by a handsome stranger and fall in love, nor does she expect to find herself thrust into a situation where her quick thinking may be all that can keep both herself and her young companion safe.

Doesn’t that sound like such a fabulous story? It is – believe me, this is one you will read over and over again!


You can purchase this one in either Trade Paperback or EBook format on Amazon and Kobo.


And I have one more morsel for those who have read this far down this blog post already – The FIRST person to comment below, or tell me on Facebook or Twitter, the answer to the following question, I will gift you an ebook copy of this new book through Amazon.

What is Eileen’s favorite flower?


First to answer correctly wins!!

**A winner has been chosen!  Congratulations, Tina for guessing the correct flower!**

Protected: A Peculiar Ramblings Story: A Music Room Meeting


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A Peculiar Ramblings Game: The Season in Regency England

Hello everyone! Our theme this month is the Season, so I have put together a quick little game to quiz your knowledge. I hope you enjoy it! Click the green “play” button below: