Music Monday: Wind, Brian Crain

When I write, I like to have instrumental music playing. This is not news to those who have been following my blog for any length of time. ūüôā ¬†I have several playlists of music that I can choose from when I sit down to write. Often, I pick randomly. ¬†However, for this last story — the one I just finished the first draft of this week — I couldn’t pick a random piece of music. This story demanded I¬†listen to Brian Crain.

29briancrain. ‚ÄúBrian Crain – Wind.‚Ä̬†YouTube, YouTube, 26 July 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfu6k8IGOXU.

There were two albums my brain favoured¬†for this story. ¬†One was Piano and Light. The other, which contains the above song, was Piano Opus. A few minutes of closing my eyes and listening to either of these albums seemed just the thing to let my brain know it was time to write. Even when I sat down to write this blog post, I put on “Wind” and before the song was half over, my brain had calmed and was focused on writing. I think it is amazing how our bodies can learn to react to signals like that!

Now that you know why I am sharing this particular piece of music, let’s move on to the writing news for the week and then enjoy a story excerpt.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 15 from 3-5 pm EST, Zoe Burton, Rose Fairbanks, and I are hosting an Austen in August Garden Party on Facebook. There will be opportunities to share some favourites, test your knowledge of Jane Austen’s novels in a scavenger hunt, and (hopefully) pick up one of our books in a¬†giveaway. Giveaways (7 of them) will be scattered throughout the time, and you will have to be present to claim a book. You can join the party here:

Austen in August Garden Party.

Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy is now available for pre-orders with a release day scheduled for August 29.  You can pre-order that book at this link:

Henry: to Prove Himself Worthy.  

(Oh, by the way, this is one of the books I will be giving away at the party tomorrow.)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have completed the first draft of Unravelling Mr. Darcy.  I have let it sit for a couple of days, and will begin working my way through the first round of edits this week.

While it was sitting, I started writing what will be the next Thursday’s Three Hundred story which is called¬†Confounding Caroline and is excerpted below.

AN EXCERPT from Confounding Caroline:  Continue reading Music Monday: Wind, Brian Crain

Music Monday: Saint-Sa√ęns ~ The Swan

I’m sharing two stumbled upon videos today — one is a music video and the other is a talk about music. I know you may not have time for both videos, so go ahead and listen to the music video as you read my writing news and the story excerpt. Then, when you have time (about 21 minutes of time) come back and listen to the second video. The speaker has some very good points that he presents in an entertaining fashion.

Brooklyn Duo. ‚ÄúSaint-Sa√ęns: The Swan (Cello and Piano) – Brooklyn Duo.‚Ä̬†YouTube, YouTube, 29 May 2015.
TEDtalksDirector. ‚ÄúThe Transformative Power of Classical Music | Benjamin Zander.‚ÄĚYouTube, YouTube, 27 June 2008.

I feel like I have a lot of “disjointed” material to cover today, so I think I will use sections and headers instead of attempting to make to flow together cohesively. Up first…

Music

Let me tell you how I came upon the first video since that is one that has been added to my Music to Write By Playlist. ¬†I went out with a friend this week. We did some shopping and had lunch. ¬†One of the places we stopped at was a thrift store. I always peruse the CD rack when I go into thrift shops. I have found lots of good music that way. ¬†This time was no exception. I came out with five CDs¬†— four for when I am writing and one for my husband — and they only cost me $2.50 total! (I know, that’s a great bargain!)

One of those CDs is called “Provence: A Romantic Journey” which is comprised of fifteen French classical pieces of music. ¬†The first song on that CD is the one in today’s music video.

(By the way for those who do listen to the second video, which was a YouTube suggestion to me this week, track 5 on my CD is the piano piece he plays in the video.)

Next…

Writing News

I had a good writing week this last week. I did not get as many words written as I wanted to. However, I did get a good number of words added to Dash of Darcy #4 (which has a title now…see below), and I managed to get half way through final edits for Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy. ¬†I call that a good productive week!

August is scheduled to be a busy month of Tuesdays for me.  It started with the release of His Beautiful Bea and an Austen Authors post last Tuesday and will continue with a couple of book sales, a Facebook Austen in August Garden Party (August 15th from 3 PM ET to 5 PM ET), and a book release on August 22nd before finishing up with another Austen Authors post on August 29th.

The first book sale will be this Tuesday. It will be a TWO-DAY Kindle sale (or just about a two-day sale as it does take a bit of time before and after to get prices adjusted). Watch for details about this sale on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as in your inbox if you are on my mailing list.

And now…

A STORY EXCERPT FROM Unravelling Mr. Darcy: ¬† Continue reading Music Monday: Saint-Sa√ęns ~ The Swan

Music Monday: Turn Around, Look at Me, The Vogues

Today’s musical selection is a song that a reader suggested would go very well with His Beautiful Bea. ¬†Of course, as soon as she mentioned it in a comment on darcyandlizzy.com, I had to go on a YouTube search for it. ¬†I found several versions of the song. ¬†And you know what? ¬†Carmalee was so right!¬†This song is perfect for Graeme, absolutely perfect! ¬†After listening to several of the versions, I settled on this video because I liked both the sound quality and the pictures. ūüôā

MsDarlin45. “The Vogues – Turn Around Look at Me.”¬†YouTube. YouTube, 26 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 July 2017.

His Beautiful Bea will be “LIVE” on all my sales channels tomorrow, August 1, 2017.

Also happening tomorrow:

It is my day at austenauthors.net, so there will be an excerpt — from the card playing scene for those who have been fortunate enough to read the book — and a giveaway as well as an explanation of what the Touches of Austen books are.

If you’ve been following my blog or have subscribed to my newsletter, you are very familiar with what a¬†Touches of Austen book is. However; not everyone is. So, I will be explaining my take on Austenesque as it pertains to this collection of stories.

Hopefully, there will be those readers who will be daring enough to try something new from me and come to love Graeme and Bea as much as I do. ¬†ūüôā

Getting everything ready for the print version of my release and making certain all the preorder things were in place took a good bit of time this week, but I still managed to learn some new stuff (Photoshop related), and I didn’t have to miss my writing time to do it!

I am about 10K shy of having the first draft of Dash of Darcy #4 done. (No, still no title — I need to see if the idea¬†behind the working title still holds true when I reach the end before I commit to it.)

Dash of Darcy #4 is shaping up to be a fun tale with some commotion and upsets but nothing “dire” or “grave” or “life threateningly dramatic.” However, though these disturbances are more amusing than angst-inducing, they still do their work to draw out a different side of Darcy and to show him to Elizabeth as a man she can and does love.

(Side note: The story starts at the conclusion of that horrid proposal and refusal, so I think, ODC started out at the worst point in their story. And to me, when I consider the purpose of the story, there seems to be no need to delve deeper into drama. I believe the results can be achieved through lighter events.)

Below is a scene from this week’s writing that I think¬†shows a bit of how Darcy is changing. Continue reading Music Monday: Turn Around, Look at Me, The Vogues

Music Monday: SHINE, The Washboard Union

This is not the song I had thought I would be sharing today. ¬†However, when it popped up in my YouTube notifications, I changed my original plans because I have heard this on the radio lately, and I have been eagerly awaiting the video so that I could share it. I love how upbeat both the tune and the words are. It’s a great pick me up song for any time of the day, but I do think Monday mornings are probably more in need of picking up than most (except maybe Wednesday afternoons as your energy flags in that midweek slump — or is that just me?)

TheWashboardUnion. “The Washboard Union – Shine – Official Lyric Video.”¬†YouTube. YouTube, 21 July 2017. Web. 22 July 2017.

So, while you’re tapping your toes to this happy song, let me tell you briefly what I have been up to this past week in my writing life.

During my editing block:

First, I finished first round edits on Henry’s story and sent it to my first reader, who messaged me that she enjoyed it and has some notes for me, which we will discuss probably this evening.

Then, I pulled up the copy of His Beautiful Bea with all its line edits and began a final read through of that before working on the formatting.  It looks like everything but the print edition should be ready for release day, August 1, 2017. (Hopefully, by the time this post goes live, both the e-book and print files will be uploaded and just awaiting review and proofing for appearance.)

I also sent out a sneak peek at chapters one and two of His Beautiful Bea to my mailing list, and I set up a Touches of Austen Readers Group on Facebook where readers can discuss elements of Austen they find in the book as they read.

Note: If you would like to read my explanation of what the Touches of Austen Collection of books is and the first chapter of His Beautiful Bea, you can do that at this link: His Beautiful Bea Preview

I’m rather excited about taking this step into writing Austenesque stories. ¬†I just hope I survive the Mrs. Bennet-like fit of nerves that accompanies¬†doing something new!

And then in my writing block:

I’m still working on what will be my next Dash of Darcy novella. I think I might have finished the cutting and splicing of the previous stories into the new story phase at least for now, and depending on how long this story ends up being in the end, I am at the “one-third to one-half done” mark. ūüôā

The excerpt below is an entirely new part that I added to the story this week. (No, the story does not yet have an official title. ūüôā )

EXCERPT from Dash of Darcy #4:  Continue reading Music Monday: SHINE, The Washboard Union

Music Monday: Softness and Light, Brian Crain

Pause your busy Monday for a couple of minutes and try this little imagination exercise.  Click play on the video below. Then close your eyes and see if you can imagine yourself travelling in a carriage with the light filtering in through the window.

Briancrainfan. “Brian Crain – Softness and Light.”¬†YouTube. YouTube, 07 June 2012. Web. 15 July 2017.

Were you able to see it? ¬†Isn’t this song perfect for a carriage ride on a sunny spring day? I found it to be.

In fact, it is this song and that exercise that I used to settle my brain into one of my writing sessions this week which resulted in the carriage ride shared in the excerpt at the end of this writing news update.

This week, I began working my way through my first round of edits for Henry’s story. ¬†I am just past the halfway point with that, and I am still loving that story! I hope to have my edits done before Wednesday this week so I can send that story off to my first reader. ¬†Because I am pushing to get that done, my writing sessions were shorter this past week.

As I mentioned last week, I was in need of a new story to write this week and had several options from which to choose.  Well, I settled on one that I had attempted before and had given up on.

I’m not the sort that likes to give up. ūüėČ So, I am giving it one more shot — and so far, it seems like it is going to work. ¬†I wrestled with it for a day and then decided to discuss my concerns with a couple of writer friends. ¬†That was an excellent choice because a couple of helpful comments was all it took for me to have a lightbulb moment about how this story might be accomplished. ¬†We’ll see if it works out.

The story has a working title but as I am still very uncertain if that title will stick, I will just refer to it as Dash of Darcy 4 because it will be the fourth Dash of Darcy Collection Novella. (And if all goes according to plan, there will be at least one sequel and maybe two sequels to add to my Dash of Darcy Companion Stories Collection.)

As with all my Dash of Darcy novellas, the story departs from Pride and Prejudice at a specific point and then follows a new path to happily ever after for Darcy and Elizabeth. This story starts at the conclusion of Darcy’s disastrous¬†proposal — before he can even leave the parsonage — and takes a one hundred eighty degree turn.

This¬†novella is a reworking of three short stories I wrote several years ago. ¬†These stories — A Change of Heart, Just Three Words, and With My Whole Heart — can be found in their original forms in my short stories collection HERE. ¬†I can’t promise that all of what you read in these stories will end up in the final product¬†as the story has to be expanded and some ideas might not work with the new plot additions,¬†but these three stories are my starting point.

The following scene (currently the beginning of chapter 3) is entirely new material that I am adding to this story and follows the rewritten A Change of Heart (which has been expanded enough to be chapters 1 & 2).

EXCERPT FROM Dash of Darcy 4:  Continue reading Music Monday: Softness and Light, Brian Crain

Music Monday: Something to Wrap My Heart Around, JoJo Mason

Today’s song is one that YouTube put in the “You Should Watch This” (or as they call it Recommended) section of my front page about a week ago, and it has been replaying in my brain a lot — over and over and over. ¬†That has, of course, led me to rewatch the video and reinforce that replay. ūüôā ¬†It’s a “vicious” cycle, but one with a purpose — a writing purpose.

JoJoMasonVEVO. “JoJo Mason – Something to Wrap My Heart Around.”¬†YouTube. YouTube, 09 June 2017. Web. 08 July 2017.

When I heard the song, it just seemed to embody the sort of idea I wished to convey for the hero in my current work in progress, so listening to the song was a great way to focus my mind as I got ready to write this week (before I switched over to the instrumental music for writing.)

And it was a great week of writing for me. The best I have had in about two months!

The result is that the first draft of Henry’s story is complete! Completing that draft is always an exciting moment. Of course, that means I must now start first round edits on it — that part is not as exciting. LOL I am hoping that if all goes well, this story will be available in August.

That is what I have to work on this weekend (I am writing this on Saturday) — planning.

I have once again finished all the projects that were on my 90-day plan (all the sticky notes on the calendars above my desk have been removed!), and I must create a new 90-day plan. ¬†The only things I know for certain will show up on the plan for August, September, and October are the publication of His Beautiful Bea as well as Henry’s story in August and the final Thursday Three Hundred post of With the Colonel’s Help (with publication shortly after). ¬†So the slate is pretty blank. ¬†I have a list of things from which to chose —

Another Dash of Darcy story

One of the stories that have been circling in my brain and follow Henry’s story

Another Touches of Austen story based on Sense and Sensibility

Some short stories

Or…

There’s that list of plot bunny ideas I could revisit

Though I have all those options, I’m always open to suggestions of what readers would like to read, so feel free to drop ideas in the comments if you would like.

Now, for a bit of what I wrote this last week. I can’t share what I wrote in my last writing session as that was the conclusion of the story and, unlike me, not everyone likes to read the end of the book before reading all the rest of it. ¬†ūüôā So, I will give you what I wrote in my first writing session last week…which happens to star the young lady the Henry has found his heart wrapped around.

On a personal side note: I’m rather excited about this book. I know I started out very nervous about it, and those nerves are still there. ¬†However, the story was great fun to write, and I actually found myself liking this Henry Crawford and was happy to see him finally get his HEA. ¬†Hopefully, when it is ready to publish, there will be readers who will also be ready to take a chance on a reformed Henry. ¬†ūüôā

AN EXCERPT from Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy:  Continue reading Music Monday: Something to Wrap My Heart Around, JoJo Mason

Music Monday: Can’t Help Falling in Love, The Piano Guys

I have made a few additions to my Music to Write By Playlist over the last few weeks. ¬†One of those songs is the one below. Not only is it a new song on my playlist and beautifully performed, but the idea of the song’s lyrics kind of goes with the story I have been working on this week.

ThePianoGuys. “Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis) – The Piano Guys.”¬†YouTube. YouTube, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 01 July 2017.

But first, one writing news note — Tomorrow, June 4, 2017, is my day to post at Austen Authors. I will be talking about a favourite movie I watched last week and sharing a bit of history about Canada while I explain what I admire about the antagonist of the film. ¬†I hope you get a chance to stop by.

Now, back to why I chose the video above.

If you have been following along with the Monday posts, you know I have been focusing on Mansfield Park related stories and that the subject my current work in progress is Henry Crawford. ¬†I am attempting to help him find happiness. ¬†His disastrous affair with Maria Bertram and the subsequent loss of any hope of ever gaining Fanny Price’s love left him somewhat miserable according to Jane Austen.

…we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach,¬†self-reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had rationally as well as passionately loved.

Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park (p. 334). . Kindle Edition.

Now, in¬†Mansfied Park, Henry was not supposed to fall in love with Fanny. He was supposed to make her fall in love with him — I’m not sure what he planned to do after she fell in love with him. Break her heart, perhaps? It seemed rather important for Henry to be loved by women and looked at with fondness. I mean, it is the coldness of his reception from Mrs. Rushworth that makes him wish to make her Miss Bertram, the girl who loved him, once more.

My story is based on the premise that Henry’s wretchedness was his turning point, and after some soul-searching, he has begun his transformation into a respectable fellow before page one of my story. From there, he must prove that he is worthy of a respectable lady. ¬†He has enlisted the help of a friend’s sister to help him learn the sort of gentlemen a respectable lady prefers.

He and she are both warned that such arrangements can be dangerous. Hearts can become engaged where you least expect them to. ¬†Henry should know this from his time with Fanny, but…sigh…Henry seems a bit of a slow learner on that count. ¬†He finds himself once again falling in love with a lady he never intended to love.

EXCERPT from Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy: Continue reading Music Monday: Can’t Help Falling in Love, The Piano Guys