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. 😉 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. 🙂  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.  🙂 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.  🙂

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

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. 🙂

SoothingRelaxation. “3 Hours of Beautiful Relaxing Instrumental Music – Study, Relax, Background ★31.” 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. 🙂

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! 🙂 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 😉  (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. 🙂 )

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. 🙂 )

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. 🙂 ) Continue reading Music Monday: Who I Am with You, Chris Young