Music Monday: Starlit Dream, Peder B Helland

This week, I spent a lot of time with “relaxation” music playing in my office. Why? ¬†One word. Edits. ūüôā

SoothingRelaxation. “3 Hours of Beautiful Relaxing Instrumental Music – Study, Relax, Background ‚ėÖ31.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 June 2017.

I have decided to give my story His Beautiful Bea one more going over before I send it off to be checked for commas, spelling, word usage, and the like.

I’m attempting to add a bit more emotional depth to the story. This story does not contain an enormous, spectacular conflict. ¬†There is conflict, but it’s internal to the main characters.

I would describe the story as a gentle realization of love. Nothing horrible happens.  No one faces death or disowning.  There are no refused proposals. The setting and the action of the story is all rather pleasant and agreeable. The battle lies in the hero recognizing those odd feelings for what they are while the heroine grows to understand that what she thought was love, was nothing more than infatuation.

In my opinion, this is the sort of story that needs extra attention paid to the emotional details, and that is what I am trying to do on this last pass through my manuscript — give those details the attention they are due. Will I be successful? I don’t know because each reader will have to decide that for him or herself. ¬†I can only make certain the story is to my liking before I send it out into the big, scary world. ūüôā

All the attention to minute details and being self-critical required when editing tends to leave my brain in desperate need of soothing. ¬†However, when you add the fact that both the story I am editing and the one I am writing are “new forms” of stories (one being Austenesque, which I have never done, and both based on Mansfield Park¬†instead of the more comfortable Pride and Prejudice), and you get one very stressed out Leenie! ūüôā Therefore, relaxation music was NECESSARY.

The above composition was what was playing during my last writing session on Friday when I was writing the excerpt below.

EXCERPT from Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy: Continue reading Music Monday: Starlit Dream, Peder B Helland

Music Monday: Wanna Be That Song, Brett Eldredge

On Thursday of this past week, I stepped into the “Author Spotlight” on the darcyandlizzy.com blog. ¬†Some of you have seen the post (and commented on it), but others have not. So, let me explain a bit about what this whole spotlight thing is and why it led me to choose this song to share.

BrettEldredge. “Brett Eldredge – Wanna Be That Song (Official).” YouTube. YouTube, 22 June 2016. Web. 17 June 2017.

On the 15th and 30th of each month, darcyandlizzy.com features an author who posts her work on the forum. The author shares a little bit about herself and her writing, and there is a giveaway that readers can be entered in simply by leaving a comment on the post.

My post is a short interview.  The questions I answered were:

  1. What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?
  2. What first drew you to JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) and how long have you been reading it? What prompted you to begin writing?
  3. Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?
  4. What are three of your favourite resources to turn to when writing?
  5. Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your characters or scenes?

If you wish to see all my answers, you’ll have to visit the blog post ūüėČ ¬†(the link is above in the first line of this post). However, I am going to share part of my answer to question four because it is that answer that has had today’s song in my head all week. ¬†I listed YouTube as one of the resources I turn to when writing (if you read these posts each week — that should not come as a surprise). The reason I gave for using this resource is “Every book needs a soundtrack, right?”

Have you listened to the above song? Can you see (or should I say hear) the connection?

One part of the song, near the end says:

When you’re searching the horizon
When your eyes look back
When you’re standing in the moment
Every life has a soundtrack

That phrase. ¬†Right there. At the end. That’s the reason this song has been in my head. In my writing world — the life and love of each hero and heroine has a soundtrack to me. ¬†(Some of which I share with you here each Monday.)

As I listened to this song this week, I thought of it in terms of stories.  And I would agree with Mr. Eldredge.

Let me be that song that gets you high
Makes you dance, makes you fall
That melody rewinds years
Once disappear, makes time stall
Wanna be those words that fill you up
Pull your windows down and keeps you young
Makes you believe you’re right where you belong

I want my stories to be those stories that make you feel all these wonderful things and leave gyou with a sense of wellbeing.

That is why I have chosen this song today…now on to some story news and a bit of what I wrote this week.

I have some publishing news —

If you are looking for a feel good, flirty, little romp of a story, you’re in luck. Not an Heiress publishes this week. ¬†AND to celebrate, there will be a giveaway on my Facebook page starting tomorrow and running for one week. ¬†One option for entering involves dropping a

One option for entering involves dropping a favourite¬†quote from the book — so get those ready while you are reading, and hey, if you can’t purchase the book — you can find part of it already posted on darcyandlizzy.com. (The rest will be posted there over the next two Saturdays.) I am excited to see which quotes you guys like. (I hope there are some that you like, and I won’t just hear crickets. ūüôā )

I am excited to see which quotes you guys like. (I hope there are some that you like, and I won’t just hear crickets. ūüôā )

In addition to getting things ready for the book launch and being part of darcyandlizzy’s spotlight, I finished one round of edits on His Beautiful Bea and sent that off to my first reader to get her input on what I should include in an epilogue, and I also managed to add a few words to my Henry story. (I only managed to write just over 3,000, which is low, but it is still progress, right?)

(I only managed to write just over 3,000, which is low, but it is still progress, right?)

Below is about 800 words from my last writing session on Friday night.

EXCERPT from Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy: Continue reading Music Monday: Wanna Be That Song, Brett Eldredge

Music Monday: Who I Am with You, Chris Young

We’re taking a walk down a country road for this Music Monday song choice. ¬†It is not a particularly soft and gentle piece of music like I tend to post. It has parts that are mellow but then other parts have a harder edge to them. Why I am highlighting and dissecting the tone of the song? Because it is part of the inspiration I am taking from this piece of music as I am working on my current work in progress.

ChrisYoungVEVO. “Chris Young – Who I Am With You (Lyric Video).” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 June 2017.

You see, just as this song is a mix of tones, the hero that I am writing is also a mixture of seemingly conflicting parts. ¬†He is charming and coming to terms with what appears to be a softer heart than he thought he had, but he’s not timid, nor is he the sort to back down from what needs to be done — he possesses strength. However, he is at that “I’ve been lost” stage of his life. He has pursued a particular lifestyle for all of his life and has found that it is not satisfying. It has brought him pain and disappointment, and he is searching for a way to be the man he wants to be.

In the portion of story that I wrote Friday night and am sharing below, our hero, Henry, has come to the conclusion that he needs help to become what he desires, and he has decided on asking Constance and her Aunt Gwladys¬†for assistance. He will hopefully embody the lyrics from the above song “who I am with you, is who I want to be” and ¬†“a better man is who I am with you.”

AN EXCERPT FROM Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy¬† (The excerpt is about 1,200 words, and yes, the story now has a title. ūüôā ) Continue reading Music Monday: Who I Am with You, Chris Young

Music Monday: Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

This week I was “staring at the blank page before me.” ūüôā

As I mentioned last week, I took a few days off to allow my brain time to relax. So, this week, after requiring myself to take one day of absolutely no work (Monday),  I decided it was time to start working the brain back into the writing schedule.

NBedingfieldVEVO. “Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten.” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Oct. 2009. Web. 04 June 2017.

The process actually started with writing my blog post for Austen Authors — which you can read tomorrow. It is about Not an Heiress and includes three excerpts from the story.

Then, I turned my mind to an idea that was sparked this comment by Patty on last Monday’s blog post.

An idea for a story, could you write a piece that made Crawford redeemable?

Hmmm…Could I? It was a thought that gave me goosebumps — still does. And that is a good thing. ¬†That’s what happens when excitement mixed with apprehension skitters through me. ūüôā

So, I went in search of the answer…and that process looked like this:

I started by spending a good deal of time on Tuesday rereading portions of Mansfield Park and taking notes.

Then, I messaged a couple of author friends, and they very kindly let me discuss Mansfield Park, Henry Crawford, and various plotting sort of things. (It just helps to “talk it out” some. ūüôā )

After that, I needed time to think and mull over my thoughts — but I forced myself to begin writing a possible scene, just a piece.

This was followed by another period of thinking which consists of finding a relaxed position — often lying on my bed with a notebook next to me for jotting down thoughts ;), turning on specific music that I use just for this purpose, and letting various scenes play out in my mind.

Then it was back to writing.

Have I discovered the answer to the question of whether or not I can reform Henry Crawford?

Maybe. I think so. I hope so. ūüôā

This is where the apprehension comes into play. The story is starting after the conclusion of Mansfield Park. Henry has had some time to regret Fanny and has made some changes. But…am I drawing on the small nuances of potentially noteworthy character in him as I see them in canon and developing them in a believable way?

There’s only one way to find out — write the story. ūüôā

Here’s a look a the first thousand words of Henry’s story: ¬† Continue reading Music Monday: Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

Music Monday: Emma 2009 – If You’re Not the One

Last year, I participated in Austen Authors’ read along¬†of Emma. It was my second reading of the novel. It’s a very good story — but a long one, and, to be honest, one that I struggled with at times just because it seemed to not move along fast enough for me, and there were some characters (including Emma) who aggravated me. ūüôā However, I did find this second reading gave me a better appreciation for some of them.

Elementoffun. “Emma 2009 – If You’re Not the One.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Jan. 2010. Web. 27 May 2017.

I think my favourite character was Miss Bates. She often shared some information in her long meanderings that hinted at what was really happening, and if other characters had paid closer to attention to her rather than tuning out her babblings, they might have discovered things before they did. But, Miss Bates was not a character designed to be listened to.  I find that so clever of Miss Austen to use such a character in this fashion.

Today, I have chosen to share one of the three aimagined scenes that I wrote during the read along. There is a place where Miss Bates leaves her house to meet up with Emma and is engaged in talking outside of her home for some time — since you know Miss Bates is not a lady of few words — and Frank and Jane are left alone with a slumbering Mrs. Bates. ¬†Rebecca Jamison who was the discussion leader that week asked what we thought happened in that little interlude in chapter¬†28 when the two true lovers were left alone. ¬†Below you will find my answer — in vignette format.

The reason I have chosen to share this particular piece of writing instead of something I wrote this week is because, well, my brain seems to be in a little slump, and it was occupied for most of the week with the publication of both Better Than She Deserved and At All Costs.

I did sit down with a story I wrote some time ago and have always wanted to extend into a novelette or novella, but as I started rewriting it, I was finding that the story was not capturing my imagination. I believe my writing suffers when I am not fully engaged in the story, so I decided to tuck that story away for now. I also think the story needs an expanded concept and better conflict/plot development before I go back to it. ¬†This means, however, that I am back to needing to decide on a writing project. ¬†So far, I haven’t landed on anything, and I am attempting to just relax and refill the creative well with things like music videos such as the one above, reading, movies, and fun activities.

So, while my brain rests and recovers from the workout I have given it of late, enjoy this little scene of what might have been in Emma.

An Interlude Between Acts: Continue reading Music Monday: Emma 2009 – If You’re Not the One

Music Monday: Pachelbel in the Garden

Happy Victoria Day! Today,¬†the plan is that I will be spending some time in the garden with my husband getting some things cleaned up and planted. ¬†I am not a great gardener, but I appreciate a good garden — and writing scenes that happen in gardens (see the excerpt below). ¬†I also appreciate lovely, relaxing, imagination-stimulating¬†music. ¬†The video below is the soundtrack that has been playing in the background as I wrote this week.

Crystalkaleidoscope. “Pachelbel in the Garden (relaxing Music, Sounds of Nature).”YouTube. YouTube, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 May 2017.

Pachelbel’s Canon in D is a favourite¬†of mine, so I was delighted to stumble across this music on YouTube this week. ¬†It makes great background music, so click play and read on to see what I managed to accomplish this week.

It was another good productive week for me. ¬†I finished edits on Better Than She Deserved. ¬†I got the print copy of At All Costs finished, proofed, and approved — it is all ready for release day this THURSDAY! [You can get your copy at this link.] ūüôā

And then, I managed to almost finish writing the first draft of the story I started last week! It is amazing how just a couple thousand words a day adds up! It appears that it is going to be a short novella, but I never expected it would be very long for a couple of reasons. First, I like LOVE¬†novellas, and I tend to write what I like. Second, it is the first story of this type that I have written, so short seemed a good place to begin my learning journey. ¬†(Of course, I might find I like writing these just as short novellas — there is a very good chance that might happen.)

Now, having reached nearly the end of that story, I am faced with the need to design a cover and give it a title.  I had given it a name that went well with the idea I had in mind as I began typing words into my document. However, the characters as I got to know them lead me down a different path. So, that title no longer fits the idea of the book. I think I am going to call it His Beautiful Bea because the main element that I took from Mansfield Park when planning this story was to model my heroine after the quiet, reserved Fanny Price. I have tried out a couple of other ideas and my mind keeps coming back to this one.

So, here is part of a garden scene from His Beautiful Bea that I wrote this week: Continue reading Music Monday: Pachelbel in the Garden