Music Monday: Rain, Simply Three

How was your week? Are you ready to begin another? At this very moment on Sunday night when I am writing this, I don’t know that I feel ready for another week to begin. 🙂 Last week was busy, and the one coming up promises to be even busier. However, it is not a horrid busyness at all. It is a good, fulfilling race to the publishing line sort of busyness. I just happen to be tired at the moment. 🙂 So, press play, and while the music (a new addition to my Music to Write By playlist) plays, let me tell you what I accomplished last week and where I am headed this week.

Simply Three. “Simply Three – Rain (Original Song).” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Oct. 2017, youtu.be/KFppTBdCse8.

 

Last week I…

wrote my Austen Authors post for this Tuesday, found or created graphics for it, and made certain it was scheduled.

wrote the book description for One Winter’s Eve, and after getting the proofreading edits back, read the entire book one more time fixing the things that had been marked.

wrote another 1251 words of Confounding Caroline and hit my new goal of writing at least 1250 words per day on three out of the four days scheduled for my current work in progress –> Enticing Miss Darcy.

posted two chapters of Enticing Miss Darcy to Patreon

did a few other odds and end sorts of jobs as required for my business — there are several things that need to be done that are not writing or editing to keep my business running. I wish I could say I got to them all and that I have a great schedule figured out for keeping up with everything and that nothing ever just got ignored because there wasn’t time or due to forgetfulness, but I can’t. 🙂 Things included in this group of duties would be keeping an eye on sales numbers at all vendors, checking on how ads are doing, listening to or reading about professional development sorts of things, finding pictures for book covers, creating book graphics, and so on.

This week, I…

will be uploading files to my vendors and getting the preorder for One Winter’s Eve running while I create the print version and wait to proof it.

will be sending out an email to my mailing list informing them of the preorder and making a limited number of advance reader copies available to them.

will take my turn at Austen Authors on Tuesday. My post is about researching for character development. There will be an excerpt from One Winter’s Eve and a giveaway included. I would be delighted to have you stop by and learn about how I approached working with Caroline Bingley in this upcoming release.

will be posting a Friday’s Feature in which I share an excerpt from a book in my backlist and offer it to you at a lovely sales price! (Kindle Sale 🙂 ) So, be looking for that!

will be posting two more chapters (hopefully) of Enticing Miss Darcy to Patreon. I say hopefully because publishing stuff might get the way of writing time this week — I hope it doesn’t, but it might.

will be doing more of those odds and ends sorts of duties. 🙂

I think that’s it. Like I said, it has been and will be busy, but it is a good, fulfilling busyness that I am so very blessed to “endure.” 🙂

Below is a bit of Enticing Miss Darcy from my writing time on Thursday. This portion has not yet been posted to Patreon, so it is new to one and all. 🙂 It is the beginning of chapter 6.

EXCERPT FROM Enticing Miss Darcy:  Continue reading Music Monday: Rain, Simply Three

Music Monday: Song from a Secret Garden, Hauser

Happy second Monday of 2018! How was your first week? Mine was “interesting.” 🙂 My son and I resumed homeschool classes — sort of.  A winter storm altered our plans. The wind howled and rain (not snow for us) pelted the house. Then the rain stopped and the wind calmed, only to pick back up as the storm wrapped around, and the backside of it passed through. We were very fortunate. We sustained no damage and only lost power for a few hours.  So, I am not complaining. I’m just saying it created a week I wasn’t expecting.

Hauser. “HAUSER – Song from a Secret Garden.” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Nov. 2017, youtu.be/qZSJvyBag8A.

While the wind blew and the candles flickered on Thursday, I found it difficult to focus to write until I pulled out my mp3 player and turned on some music. Music plays such an important roll in my writing process. 🙂 The above song is not one I was listening to on Thursday but is one that I recently added to my Music to Write By playlist on YouTube which I have been using during my writing sessions this week (on days when there is power).

In writing news…

I have gotten One Winter’s Eve back from my first reader, made the necessary corrections, and sent it on to my second reader. I expect to have it back sometime this week so I can start final edits and get a preorder set up for January 15.  Release day is scheduled for January 25, 2018.

I have posted three chapters of Enticing Miss Darcy on Patreon and am halfway through writing chapter 4 (excerpted below). I plan to have that chapter completed and posted on Patreon by tomorrow evening.  I had hoped to get a full chapter written on Friday, but I ended up spending a good bit of time doing some research for the story.  The tentative release day for this book is March 6, 2018. (I did some planning this past week. 🙂 )

As part of my plan, I have switched up my writing schedule just slightly to fit in writing time for Confounding Caroline.  I am now doing Work In Progress writing M, T, W, and F, and giving Th over to my Thursday Three Hundred story writing.  I will say that, while the power was out on Thursday, I finally wrote the part of Confounding Caroline where we will first see Elizabeth.  Those two parts will post on the blog in the second half of February.

That, I believe, is all the writing news I have for you this week.  Now, to share a portion of what I wrote on Friday night.

AN EXCERPT FROM Enticing Miss Darcy:  Continue reading Music Monday: Song from a Secret Garden, Hauser

Music Monday: New Year’s Day, Pentatonix

Happy New Year! Is there any day of the year when introspection, gratitude, remembrance, and hopeful expectation collide quite as forcefully as January 1 when the blank page of a new year full of aspirations lies before us? Personally, I don’t think so.

SecondSoundLyrics. “PENTATONIX – NEW YEARS DAY (LYRICS).” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Oct. 2015, youtu.be/ZsJt7j96n0s.

For me, the end of one year and the beginning of another is a time to pause and look back at the year which has been before pushing forward with new plans and goals. I’ll limit this post to just looking back at my writing life, and still, this will likely be a longish post.

I tried some new things in 2017.

I wrote my first Touches of Austen novella, His Beautiful Bea. This was a personal success for me as I have always wanted to do Austenesque and original stories in addition to my Jane Austen Fan Fiction work.  From a business standpoint, the book was not a great success. It sold very few copies (only 72 copies) so far. However, it has 8 Amazon reviews and a perfect 5-star rating, so that’s pretty good.  And I know that new things take time to catch on. I’m not giving up on my Touches of Austen books. I have plans for another one to be published at some point this year.

I wrote my first JAFF non-Pride and Prejudice book this year. Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy is a Mansfield Park continuation and part of my Other Pens Collection. This story is the beginning of a short series of books that will use some Austen characters but will be rather original in their content with new characters and plots. I was quite pleased with this book. I never thought I could like Henry Crawford, but I changed my mind. I adore him in this book. He’s really turned himself around. However, he’s not all that popular with readers as he sold fewer copies than Bea’s story did (63 copies), and his story has only 7 Amazon reviews with a lower average rating score of 4.6. However, like the Touches of Austen stories, I am not giving up on this series either, and I do have plans to write the next book in the series this year.

I have also started a Patreon page and have a few supporters there. 🙂  I have just completed posting One Winter’s Eve there. One Winter’s Eve is currently with my first reader being checked for story element errors and is scheduled to be published in late January.

I have also begun a shop, Bonny Lass Creatives, at Society6 and have been slowly “filling the shelves.” I look forward to the creative outlet adding to my shop will provide.

Henry and Bea were not the only members in the Leenie B Books publishing class of 2017 🙂 It was a busy year!

I’ve already told you that my new venture books were not bestsellers — they kind of came in at the bottom of the sales list as in they were the two books that sold the least number of copies 🙂 But what about the books that sold the most this year? Which books did more readers decide to purchase? Well, I had a bit of fun with that and created this little video of the top ten bestsellers. You’ll notice that not all the bestsellers are members of the class of 2017, some are second-year books. 🙂

So that’s a little look back. Now, to look toward the year ahead.  I hope to publish 8 books this year (not counting any Thursday Three Hundred stories). Two of those will be the ones mentioned above (One Other Pens book, One Touches of Austen book) and then the others? Well, my imagination will lead me as I go. 🙂

One Winter’s Eve will be the first book published in 2018, and Enticing Miss Darcy will be the first book written in 2018. I hope that these and several other of my books will find their way to your reading list for the year. To help you create your reading list, I have written a fun little list of reading recommendations that I have always followed and will continue to follow called…

The Sassy Girl’s Definitive Guide to What to Read in 2018 and Every Year ThereAfter
[A little preface to the list: To be perfectly honest, this list was written in response to seeing one too many posts on Facebook one year such as “10 books you must read.” (Um, no I don’t have to read them.) OR “12 books that you won’t be able to put down because they’re that good.” (Um, are you gluing it to my hand?  How do you know I will like it beyond the first page?  Who are you to tell me what I will or won’t like — what I should or shouldn’t like?). Click-baity titles like this are a pet peeve of mine. 🙂 And occasionally, I put my thoughts (my admittedly sassy thoughts) about such things to paper. What follows is a result of one such time.]

  1. I recommend that you read a book if the content is of interest to you.
  2. I recommend that if you pick up a book, and you don’t like what you are reading, you put it down again. (Or you can do as I do and skip to the end just to make sure you know how it all resolves.)
  3. I recommend if you have a book on your real or virtual shelf that is particularly enjoyable to you that you reread it, at least once.
  4. I recommend that you challenge yourself to try something new — but — only if you want to and not because some “expert” tells you to. (Unless that expert is your teacher and your grade depends on it — then, I recommend you suck it up and do your best with it.)
  5. I recommend that when giving recommendations for books, you tell others why you liked a book — kind of like you were taught to do in book reports.  If you are going to be critical in your recommendation remember that “because it is stupid” is not really an evaluation.  It is just an opinion.
  6. I recommend that you realize that what someone else likes or dislikes and what you like or dislike will likely be different, and that’s ok.  They are not idiots if they don’t agree with you, nor are you an idiot for disagreeing with them. 🙂 (And name calling is mean and wrong.)
  7. This may be the most important recommendation of them all.  I recommend that you treat reading as the fun activity it is meant to be. Go on…enjoy it!

This list is by no means exhaustive. However, I am almost 100% certain that if you follow these recommendations, you should have a wonderful year of reading! 

Now, shall we begin our new year of blog posts and reading with the first scene of a new book? (It’s a longish scene.) If you answered yes, continue reading. If you answered no, well, don’t click that read more tag. 🙂

AN EXCERPT FROM Enticing Miss Darcy Continue reading Music Monday: New Year’s Day, Pentatonix

Music Monday: Period Drama Men, All I Want for Christmas

Merry Christmas! This will be a shorter post today, since, I am sure there are many of you who will be busy with family and festivities. I will be having a quiet day, hanging out in my pjs, and reading, writing, or watching movies as the smell of cooking torments me and makes my stomach rumble.

tisreina. “Period Drama Men: All I Want for Christmas.” YouTube, YouTube, 2 Dec. 2009, youtu.be/4Q9TQTmUGQA.

If I do write, which I have a feeling I will, since I enjoy it so much, I will be working on a new story called Enticing Miss Darcy because I have finished the first draft of One Winter’s Eve and am working on the first round of edits on that.  Enticing Miss Darcy is the second sequel to Unravelling Mr. Darcy and follows Becoming Entangled. It focuses on Miss Georgiana Darcy and Mr. Jack Ralston.  This past Wednesday, I started writing that story and have about 1500 words written so far, but I will wait until next week to share anything from the new story.  For today, I will share a bit from the ending of One Winter’s Night. There will be spoilers and declarations of love in the excerpt, so read at your own risk.

The only other “publishing” news I have for you today is that the last chapter of One Winter’s Eve will post today on Patreon because I scheduled it on Saturday (which is when I scheduled this post, too) :). That means the full story is available to be read there in its current form, which because of the way I write and edit as I go is not a great deal off from what it will be like when it finally publishes.

Now, on to…

AN EXCERPT FROM One Winter’s Eve:   Continue reading Music Monday: Period Drama Men, All I Want for Christmas

Music Monday: Good King Wenceslas — Two Ways

I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the last month and a half, at least, while writing. That music has been all instrumental and rather relaxing, and I suspect I will be listening to it for that relaxing quality this week as I attempt to finish up what needs to be done before the weekend arrives. There is the decorating to finish, school tests to be completed by my son, baking to do, and groceries to get for our Christmas dinner. It will be a busy week.

I know I have shared Good King Wenceslas before on a Music Monday, but I just can’t resist sharing it again because it is one of my favourite carols and has been since I was just a girl. As I have said in previous posts, I love lyrics that tell a story. That is not a new thing. I have always loved songs like this which tell a story.

Below, are two videos of this carol. The first is short and is just the singing of the lyrics with some lovely pictures to tell the tale. The second is much longer but includes an elaborate telling of the tale of King Wenceslas with the singing of the lyrics interspersed.

Brousseau, Patrick. “Good King Wenceslas.” YouTube, YouTube, 19 Nov. 2009, youtu.be/N5E8CXQwtrg.
MormonTabChoir. “Good King Wenceslas – Jane Seymour and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”YouTube, YouTube, 12 Nov. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=low_UI9zUfk.

I have selected this song today not just because it is a favourite of mine but also because it connects with the story I have coming out tomorrow.  Two Days Before Christmas contains acts of charity both for family members and those less fortunate. I will talk briefly about this theme in tomorrow’s Austen Authors post, so I won’t delve into it here.

It is the act of kindness from a king both to the peasant and the page that has endeared this carol to me.  On December 19, 1843, one of my favourite Christmas stories was published — A Christmas Carol. Again, it is the eventual acts of kindness by Ebineezer Scrooge are part of what has endeared this tale to me.  The other part of the story that I love is the ability for a grumpy, horrid, miserly, old character’s heart to change.

My sister, when she read Two Days Before Christmas, mentioned that there were things which made her think of A Christmas Carol. Those things were not intentionally done. They just happened.  For those who have gotten to read the story, you may know which parts those are, but for those who have not read it, I will not spoil the fun. So, I will remain silent on that for now.

Today, as a belated birthday present, my husband took me to see a wonderful movie that I had been longing to see — The Man Who Invented Christmas.  There is a part in the movie (without giving too many details) where the ability of a character such as Scrooge was discussed.  Two characters, in particular, insist that Scrooge possesses the ability to change and that if Scrooge does not change then the point of the story is lost. Can you imagine the story ending with Tiny Tim dying, and Scrooge going on his way to a cold and lonely grave, remembered and grieved by no one?  I would agree that the point of the story — the reason for Marley and the ghosts of Christmas showing up would be lost completely.  (And I would venture to guess that not many of us would know what A Christmas Carol was for it would not have been the success that it was.)

So, let’s circle back from this movie tangent to my writing since this post is supposed to be sharing writing news and all that. 🙂

I tend to side with those who were advising Mr. Dickens when it comes to writing my Austen-inspired stories.  There are few characters who cannot be “redeemed” — even some that I thought might not be changeable, have proven me wrong.  Often, it takes some studying of what their possible backstories might be and discovering fears that lead to a path of restoration.

As you know, in my current work in progress, I have been working with one such character whom many think is unworthy of a happy ending.  However, Caroline Bingley, in my opinion, is not as awful as Scrooge, and if Scrooge can change, so can Miss Bingley if she is drawn along by the right motivation — in this case, it is love and not a fearful ghost of Christmas future which provides the motivation and self-reflection. 🙂

I’m coming to the end of this story. In fact, I should have it done before the end of the year. Below is a rather longish excerpt from what I wrote this past week which delves into the change being wrought in Caroline. But remember, I just said the story is coming to an end, so read at your own risk as there may (ok, most likely will) be spoilers! 🙂

Oh, one more thing before I share: If you wish to read the full first draft as it is being created, you can do that by becoming my patron on Patreon.  For those who are reading along — the part below has not yet been posted over there as I am still working to catch up to where I am in the story.

AN EXCERPT FROM One Winter’s Eve: Continue reading Music Monday: Good King Wenceslas — Two Ways

Music Monday: I Want Crazy, Hunter Hayes

Sometimes you write the story simply because it presents itself as a challenge. Sometimes you do that business thing simply because you’ve been considering it for some time and don’t want to stand back and look at it anxiously anymore.  Some people would call this crazy. I call it life — and growth.

JMGuitarGirl555. “I Want Crazy ~ Hunter Hayes ~ Lyrics.” YouTube, YouTube, 8 Apr. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu0vyD7vyM4.

So what craziness have I been up to recently?

A couple of weeks ago now, I set up an online store where I can create some interesting items related to my books because every bookseller needs a section where patrons can purchase a reading-related gift or novelty items, right? My reading-related items store, which is only beginning to be stocked with items, is called Bonny Lass Creatives (my husband came up with the name) and can be found on Society6 at this link >> BONNY LASS CREATIVES

I do enjoy making the graphics to go on the items. It’s a stress reliever, actually. 🙂

This week, I set up a Patreon page. I’ve had it started for some time as I pondered how best to use it.  For those who are not familiar with it — according to Wikipedia,

Patreon is a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, as well as ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or “patrons.”

This means that you pay a certain monthly fee to support an artist, and the artist in return gives you a “reward” for doing so.  There are all sorts of artists such as podcasters, writers, and musicians on Patreon, and there are as many different ways of working the Patreon subscription/rewards system as there are artists.

For me, I have set up my page to have two levels of subscription:

$1/month for those who curiosity must be satisfied and just want to read along as I create stories – just a dollar will give you access to all my stories as I write them. You will also receive a link to download the Thursday’s Three Hundred story in your preferred format when it is ready for publication.

$2/month for those who not only wish to satisfy their curiosity but also fill their shelves, two dollars will do it. In addition to access to all my stories as they are written, you will receive a digital copy in your preferred format when each story is ready for publication, so you can fill your shelves – be they in a library or a lovely closet. 🙂

My intention is to post as I write, however, I am still catching up to where I am in my current WIP, so post as I go will be coming….soonish. 🙂

You can find me on Patreon here >> patreon.com/LeenieBrown

Now, to update you on Two Days Before Christmas. I am writing this post on Saturday night while my husband is at work, and so I am projecting (not promising) that by the end of the day on Monday, I will have the preorder set up and will be just waiting for the various publishers to make the links.  Hopefully, I will also have the print version uploaded so that can go through the review process.  I will, of course, share links on Facebook when they are ready.

Chapter 1 of Two Days Before Christmas is available to read here >> TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS

And finally, we come to that challenging story that I am so enjoying writing, One Winter’s Eve. I am about halfway through chapter 10 as of last Friday night, and I have the first three chapters posted at Patreon for my subscribers.  I got to deal with Wickham this week while writing, and I got to delve a bit more into understanding Caroline — and she is growing and changing for the better. (Did you doubt that she wouldn’t? I will stand for no recalcitrant main characters — they will be brought up to scratch. 😉 ) Below is a sample from what I wrote this week.

AN EXCERPT FROM One Winter’s Eve Continue reading Music Monday: I Want Crazy, Hunter Hayes

Music Monday: Period Drama, Once Upon a December

Welcome to December — the month in Pride and Prejudice where, in volumes I and II, Netherfield sits empty, Mr. Collins returns to Longbourn for a short visit, Jane receives Caroline’s letter about Bingley not returning, and the Gardiners come for Christmas and leave with Jane. What a dreadful month! But then, what a difference a year makes! For in volume III, all is right by December, making it an exceedingly happy month. In fact, the Gardiners are expected at Pemberley for Christmas.

lilian hearts. “• Period Drama | Once Upon a December ♡.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 June 2015, youtu.be/_SLyhgk6fp4.

I’ve been stuck in the month of December for some time now, writing-wise. Two Days before Christmas (TDBC), which I began writing on October 24, takes place in December.  It begins with Darcy’s arrival at home at the end of November and concludes on December 23. The sequel to TDBC, One Winter’s Eve (OWE), begins on December 23 and will conclude in January. However, I am still in December in that story, and I do not see me finishing the first draft of that story for another week and a half or two weeks — and then I will have to edit that book. By the time all is said and done for these two books, it will likely be halfway through January 2018, meaning I will have been in December for almost three months! 🙂  But I have to say, my stay in writing-land December has not been dreadful but, for the most part aside from a few misty-eyed moments, exceedingly delightful!

Starting today, I will be working feverishly on final edits to TDBC because my timeline for accomplishing tasks for that book has adjusted forward by an email I received from Draft2Digital, whom I use to publish on iBooks and Nook, informing me that to ensure books are processed before various companies shut down for the holidays, all books should be uploaded by December 11! Yikes!

Therefore, I hope to have a preorder setup with a final ebook version of the story uploaded by December 11 for Draft2Digital and by December 12 for Kindle and Kobo. Then, I will work on the print book to get it uploaded, proofed, and ready to release before December 21. Here’s hoping all goes according to plan! 🙂 (And I suppose I need to toss some finishing up school units and preparing for Christmas in there as well — I am going to be one busy girl!)

I may have to take a pause in writing OWE to get the editing done that needs doing this week, but I am hopeful that I will be able to continue rolling along in that story. It has been keeping me up at night as possible scenarios for dealing with a couple of “issues,” aka plot points like Wickham, have been attempting to work themselves out in my brain. However, I am enjoying the story. Colonel Fitzwilliam is pretty awesome — as always — and I am liking (yes, I said liking) Caroline. Getting to know the characters as I wish to portray them is one of the fun parts of a challenging couple such as this — it is also the source of the story-induced lack of sleep as the actions and decisions in the story have to be true to the characters who are revealing themselves to me as I write.

Below, is a lengthy portion from what I wrote this week. In this excerpt, Richard has also been attempting to discover Caroline’s character. He thinks he has reached a correct conclusion. Caroline insists he is mistaken. But who is right — the colonel (and Caroline needs to discover some things about herself) or Caroline (and Richard will have to form a new hypothesis)?

AN EXCERPT FROM One Winter’s Eve Continue reading Music Monday: Period Drama, Once Upon a December