Friday’s Feature: His Beautiful Bea

Welcome to a new category of blog posts.  Once a month, on a Friday, I will feature the description of and an excerpt from one of my previously published books. Sometimes these featured books, such as today’s feature, will be on sale for the weekend.

Click the image to find this book on sale at Amazon.

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Let’s begin with the book’s description:

Graeme Clayton has always thought of his brother, Everett, as a bit of a blockhead.  However, when Everett seems to prefer a fawning and flirtatious lady over Beatrice Tierney,  Graeme knows that his brother is not just a bit of a blockhead but a complete and utter fool!

Knowing that Beatrice secretly loves Everett and despite his opinion of his brother’s mental faculties, Graeme vows to do his part to bring the two together.  For to Graeme, there is nothing more important than seeing his lovely neighbour and good friend happy.

Beatrice Tierney has long harboured feelings for Graeme’s younger brother, who is serious and thoughtful ─ or at least he used to be.  Now, she fears she must watch any hope she had of ever securing his heart slip away forever.

However, she is not destined to watch alone.  Graeme has positioned himself as her champion and with his help, she just might find both true happiness and love.

His Beautiful Bea is the first in my Touches of Austen collection. These stories feature original characters and plots that have been touched in some way by the influence of Jane Austen and her novels. His Beautiful Bea has elements in it which harken back to Mansfield Park, but as you can see from the description and the excerpt below, this story is not a retelling or a variation of Mansfield Park. It is its own sweet tale of discovering love in an unexpected place.

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Now for an excerpt. This portion is from chapter 4 which is about halfway through this short and sweet novella. Enjoy!  Continue reading Friday’s Feature: His Beautiful Bea

Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 1

Welcome to a new Thursday Three Hundred story! This story begins in London after Jane has called on Bingley’s sisters and Darcy has heard about it.  Now, how does one deal with a sister who has interfered with her brother’s happiness? And how does a gentleman convince the woman he has discovered he can’t live without to give him a second chance? You’ll have to read Confounding Caroline to find out.

[Remember, as with all Thursday Three Hundred stories, these posts are pieces of a work in progress. There will be errors. Each post will be about one thousand words in length and not just three hundred.]

Part 1

Fitzwilliam Darcy handed his coat and beaver to Bingley’s butler.  “I had hoped you would be home, but I did not expect it,” he said in greeting to his friend, who leaned nonchalantly against the door to the sitting room he had no doubt just exited since the lamps were still lit.  “Reading?” Darcy asked with some surprise as he took note of the book in Bingley’s hand.

Bingley shrugged.  “I do read on occasion.”

“I would not wish to keep you from your amusements.”  Darcy smirked slightly. If he knew his friend, Bingley would likely not mind the disruption.  Bingley preferred people to books.

Bingley shook his head and chuckled. “Come, my study would be more comfortable than the sitting room, and less likely to be invaded by females should Caroline return early.”

“I am surprised you did not accompany her to the Graham’s soiree,”  Darcy said, following Bingley into the study.

“I have had my fill of ferrying her around only to have her turn up her pert little nose at every gentleman she meets, so I sent her with Louisa and Hurst.”  He tucked his book away on a shelf behind his desk, and then opening the door on the right side of his desk, he pulled out a bottle of amber coloured liquid and two glasses.  “I find I tire of society.  It is always the same.  The same ladies in different dresses with different coloured hair and hats, but the same gossip, the same weather, the same pleasantries. It’s just the so much of the same, over and over and over and over.”  He handed a glass to Darcy and smiled. “Besides, if I am not mistaken, I will not be the only one who will enjoy this Caroline-free evening.”

Darcy chuckled “The quiet is agreeable to me, but you have never enjoyed silence as much as I.”  There was something different about Bingley the last few weeks.  He did not smile as much as was his usual wont, and he seemed to tuck himself away in his study more and more.  Darcy swirled the liquid in his glass and threw one leg over the other. The leather squeaked as he shifted in the chair across from Bingley.

Bingley sighed. “I find I am longing for the country, but Caroline will hear nothing of leaving town when there are so many functions to attend.”  He took a draught from his glass.  “If I thought she meant to find a husband, trotting her around to the various venues might not be so bothersome, but she is not intent on snaring anyone but you.”

Darcy nodded slowly.  Caroline had never been reserved in demonstrating her preference for him over every gentleman she met.  “A title and a larger fortune might dissuade her.”

The hint of bitterness in Bingley’s laugh surprised Darcy almost as much as Bingley’s wishing to leave town and avoid society.  These were not Bingley actions. They were behaviours that were more likely to be attributed to Darcy rather than his gregarious friend.

“She is as stubborn as a mule,” Bingley muttered, “and almost as bright.”

Darcy’s brows rose.  He had heard Bingley complain about Caroline before but never about anything more than her incessant need to purchase fripperies and dresses or the way she nattered on about this person or that person.  There was something decidedly wrong with his friend, and Darcy had a sinking feeling that he knew just what it was.

“You surprise me,” Darcy said. “Was it not you who claimed to be happy wherever you were, be it town or country?”

“That was before,” Bingley said over the rim of his glass.

“Before what?” Darcy prodded.

“Before I took an estate.” Bingley shifted in his chair uneasily, studying the painting above the fireplace for a few moments before allowing his attention to return to his friend.  He watched Darcy’s foot bounce up and down slightly, and sighed deeply.

Darcy surreptitiously glanced at his friend.  He recognized Bingley’s sigh for it was the same groan of uncertainty that had taken up residence in his chest.  It was a new and unwelcome feeling, and it was not something he could command away,  though he had tried.  He had not been able to erase it with busyness or wash it away with drink.  There remained only one option.  It must be acknowledged.  The root of it must be exposed.

“So, is it the estate or the society in Hertfordshire that you miss, my friend?” Darcy’s voice was quiet, and he fixed his eyes on the wall beyond Bingley’s head.  A small smile played at his mouth as he contemplated the image that always came to his mind when he thought of Hertfordshire.  “Netherfield seems like a fine estate, and the neighbourhood was not without its enchantments.” He sipped his drink and then swirled it again, watching the liquid swirl up the sides of the glass.

“I thought you loathed the inhabitants of Hertfordshire.”  Bingley’s voice was filled with incredulity. “Is that not why you and my sisters were so hasty in joining me in town ─ the people are beneath us, there is no society worth keeping, that sort of thing?

Again Darcy’s brows rose at the rancor in Bingley’s voice.  He sighed heavily, and colour crept up his cheeks.  This would not be a pleasant discussion, but it was a necessary one. “I did not loathe all of the inhabitants. Actually, I found some of them to be quite delightful, so delightful, in fact, that leaving seemed safer than staying.”  He rose and walked to the window.  Admitting his folly and weakness would be easier if he were able to move about and not have to face the friend he had, he suspected, unknowingly harmed.

Bingley drummed his fingers on the arm of his chair and raised a brow in anticipation of an expected explanation.

“She is here in town.” Darcy placed his empty glass on a side table and allowed his eyes to remain on it rather than look at his friend.

“Who is here in town?”

Darcy drew a deep breath and spared Bingley only a glance before returning his gaze to his glass.  “Miss Bennet.”

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Leenie B Books

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Music Monday: Rolling in the Deep Cover, Piano Guys

Do you ever just start typing in a URL and when the computer suggests a full address for that site, you just click enter, not caring that when you get to your desired destination, you will have to do a bit more clicking to find what you really want?  I do. Often. Especially when going to YouTube.

ThePianoGuys. “Adele – Rolling in the Deep (Piano/Cello Cover) – The Piano Guys.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Sept. 2011.

I did that very thing all this past week when sitting down to write.  The suggested address always took me to the above video, and so, each of my writing sessions began with The Piano Guys’ cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.  🙂 I would then hit shuffle and randomly listen to other music from my writing playlist.  This song though seems to have just the right melody, rhythm, and dissonance for the story I am attempting to craft because, while the story will be sweet with a happily ever after, I do hope to stir up some trouble along the way. So far, things are sailing along smoothly for everyone involved in the story. However, I’m 6K words in, so it’s time to start tossing issues at the hero and heroine.  I suppose that will be my “fun” during my writing time this week.

As I look forward to this week of writing, I am planning to continue writing Becoming Entangled, and I’ll likely start editing With the Colonel’s Help as the last post for that story is next week!

I also will be taking my turn on Austen Authors with a look at how I used research about Vauxhall Gardens in Unravelling Mr. Darcy.  This post will, of course, contain an excerpt and a giveaway.  I’d love to have you stop by and say hi!

The launch of Unravelling Mr. Darcy last week went well.  As I am writing this Sunday evening, it is ranking in the top 20 bestsellers in a couple of categories, and it currently has seven five-star reviews! Thank you to everyone who has purchased and read the book as well as those lovely readers that took time to tell others that they enjoyed the book.

If you read Unravelling Mr. Darcy, then you know that Anne de Bourgh’s story is left up in the air.  Becoming Entangled is her story and the one on which I have been working this past week and have excerpted below.

EXCERPT FROM Becoming Entangled:  Continue reading Music Monday: Rolling in the Deep Cover, Piano Guys

Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy

Today marks the book birthday for Henry: To Prove Himself Worthy — a book that began its journey into existence through an idea left in the comments on a Music Monday post.  Let me tell you a little about the book and then leave you with two links — one where you can read a preview and one to all the stores on which this novella is available for purchase.

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This book is about Henry Crawford, the would-be prince charming to Fanny Price’s Cinderella.  Had he had a better upbringing, had he had the fortitude within himself to resist his own vanity, had he been faithful to do what he told Fanny he would, his fate would have been different.  There were so many things that he should have but did not do, and in so not doing, he worked out his own ruin and unhappiness.

In the final chapter of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen has a fairly lengthy passage about how Mr. Crawford came upon his ruin, and that is where she leaves him — in misery. The reader does not know what will become of him beyond him feeling the consequences of his poor choices most greatly.

This is where I have picked up the story. Right there, where Henry is feeling his failure, where he his heartbroken and wretched.  But I have no intention of leaving him in such a state, for you see, in my story, the agony of loss had done its work and begun a transformation, leaving Henry Crawford with a desire to regain something of what he lost in Fanny Price and on a path to achieving his own happily ever after.

However, change is never easy.

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A preview of this book is available HERE.

You may purchase this book at your favourite retailer HERE.

  

He’s failed before, but with her help, this time, he might just succeed.

 

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: Relaxing Celtic Music, Peder B. Helland

Helland, Peder B. “Relaxing Celtic Music: Fantasy Music, Flute Music, Harp Music, Beautiful Music, Relaxing Music ★91.” YouTube. Soothing Relaxation, 17 Sept. 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.

This is a fanciful piece of music, is it not?  I found this video about two months ago, and it has become a standard go-to piece of music for getting my mind into writing mode.  There is something about it that just grabs my imagination and leads it down the creative path. It is also calming which helps me shift from the busyness of a family to the right frame of mind to think and create. (Seriously, it almost magical how well it works for me.) Because of these things, it has a place near the top of the playlist on the old mp3 player that lives on my writing desk.  This piece of music does have a connection to some of the writing I did this week — in a roundabout way.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, to give you an update on my current writing projects, I have been editing, editing, and editing.  I have completed the first round (the most strenuous round) of edits for chapters 1- 12 of So Very Unexpected.  The story,  which when it completed posting here was around 36,600 words, is up to about 39,300 words currently, and I have several more chapters to go before I am done editing. I think it is very safe to say that this story will cross that 40,000-word novel threshold.  I haven’t made any big changes. It has been more of a refining of what was there — adding details, rewording, smoothing, making certain that Lydia’s eyes which started as blue and ended hazel in the first draft are now hazel throughout — those sorts of things.  I has also been helpful to know exactly what happens in book four before doing these edits since some things tie together there. So, I am happy I decided to finish book four’s first draft before picking up my editing pen on So Very Unexpected.  I will continue editing this week and will more than likely share an excerpt of this story with you next week instead of this week since today, I have something else planned to share with you.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17, 2017, is my day to post on austenauthors.net. My post is about my writing plans for this year.  Part of these plans involves attempting to write Austen-inspired fairy tales.  If you are listening to the music video, do you see how this music could play a part? This music makes me think of fairies and magic and all things fanciful (and romantic 🙂 ).  Another part of my plans for this year involves the creation of a special Facebook Group,

Another part of my plans for this year involves the creation of a special Facebook Group, Leenie’s Sweeties. It is primarily for those who are fans of my books and would like to help promote them, but it is also a place where I hope to interact with readers while I work on putting my writing plans into action over the course of the year.

Now, in place of a story excerpt this week, I am sharing a link below to a story I placed on the Austen Author’s Writer’s Block Forum for my post tomorrow (which means you get to read it early).   This story is an Austen-inspired fairy tale that I wrote a couple of years ago in response to a writing challenge.

Enjoy the story, and I hope to see you at Austen Authors tomorrow!

Miss Contentment: An Austen-Inspired Fairy Tale
Click to read this story on Austen Authors Writer’s Block Forum

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Leenie B Books

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