Music Monday: I Be U Be, High Valley

Happy Monday! Today, I decided to share a song because, well, it has just been stuck in my head a lot lately.  It is just one of those that sticks.  I love this group’s music. And even though this has a more traditional country sound to it, I like it, which is not always the case for me.  But then it has such fantastic lyrics which I am certain plays almost as big a part in my liking it as the rhythm and melody. Although I did not choose the song to have a connection to what I have been writing this week, I think I can make one.

Highvalleymusic. “High Valley – I Be U Be (Official Music Video).” YouTube. YouTube, 07 Apr. 2017. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.

This week, I reached what I think is the end of Not an Heiress.  It still needs an epilogue and would have one by now, but I ended up with a touch of the flu and had to take a day off from writing. (That was not easily done 😉 )

In this story, the hero, Richard, and the heroine, Mary, are really opposites when you consider them separately.  She is bent on propriety, and he is more willing to have some fun. However, they blend together into something unique and strong.  They have a passionate love that overcomes her propriety, and they both have a desire to help those who are less fortunate. And though, they, at first, think they cannot be together, it becomes obvious that their love is not going to just fade away and be replaced by another.  Thankfully, Lady Catherine guesses that they love each other and forces the issue, so the coming together of the two happens more rapidly than it would have otherwise.  And it is a sweet relationship that they have!  I can see Richard singing this song to Mary. It seems to echo what his thoughts of Mary are.

In addition to finishing the main portion of Not an Heiress, I also completed the line edits of Discovering Mr. Darcy.  And, just now, late on Sunday evening, I have just submitted my ebook files for review to all my retailers for a short preorder. The release day for the ebook book is April 18, 2017.  (Print will probably be about a week later.)

Tomorrow, it is my turn to post on Austen Authors, where I will be sharing an excerpt from Discovering Mr. Darcy and talking about short stories/novellas a bit. And there is a chance to win an ebook copy. I hope you drop by and say hi!

Before I post an excerpt of what I wrote this week, I thought I would share the cover images for Discovering Mr. Darcy and Not an Heiress.

DMD_Cover (1)NAH_cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now for a bit of what I wrote this week.  Remember, this is from the end of the book so it will contain spoilers. It is a bit shorter of an excerpt to hopefully avoid any major reveals. Read at your own risk. 🙂

EXCERPT FROM Not an Heiress:  Continue reading Music Monday: I Be U Be, High Valley

Music Monday: My Heart’s in the Highlands, The Barra McNeils

Research and writing go hand in hand.  You read something that sparks an idea, and a story is born.  Or, you begin to write something and find you need to go in search of some details.  In the process, you can get lost for hours on interesting tangents, or you can stumble across exactly what you need in a relatively short amount of time.  Below is a song I stumbled across when I found I needed some details for my story on Friday evening.

Barramacneils. “My Heart’s in the Highlands.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Mar. 2007. Web. 18 Mar. 2017.

I was working on With the Colonel’s Help.  In it, Darcy has loaned Elizabeth a book of poems written by William Wordsworth.  As my characters were settling in to ride to London, I decided it might be nice to have Darcy read to Elizabeth. But what was he going to read?

Thankfully, there are search engines to help with such issues.  I typed in my search phrase, pressed enter and ta-da! lots and lots of poems by Wordsworth. So, I picked “The Solitary Reaper”, read it, and liked it well enough to allow it to be what Darcy would read to Elizabeth.

But then Darcy had to ask what song the young lady in the poem might have been singing.

Oy! These characters! 🙂

So, it was off to do another search.

A random click of a mouse on a song title, “My Heart’s in the Highlands”, in a list of traditional Scottish songs brought me this bit of information:

Written by Burns in 1789 to a traditional Gaelic tune. Burns was a Lowland Scot from Ayrshire, but he toured in the Highlands for a month in 1787.

Ah, Robert Burns! Perfect.

Colonel Fitzwilliam, however, wished to sing the song.  Which brought me to another question: what does the song sound like when sung?

That required a trip to YouTube.

In the list of results, I noticed this one by The Barra McNeils. I knew that name and was familiar with their Celtic style of music. (They’re from Cape Breton.) So, I clicked play.

As you will see in the excerpt I have included below, the song goes well with the Wordsworth poem, and I have Colonel Fitzwilliam beginning to sing before asking Elizabeth to continue — so while you listen to the recording above, imagine the colonel starting the song with the chorus, and then Elizabeth picking it up on the verse and being joined by the others on the choruses.

I am including the words to the Robert Burns poem below so you can see the words that are being sung, and below that you will find the excerpt from this week’s writing session.

My Heart’s In The Highlands

Chorus:
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe –
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go!

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of worth!
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Chorus

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below.
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods!

Chorus

EXCERPT FROM With The Colonel’s Help Continue reading Music Monday: My Heart’s in the Highlands, The Barra McNeils

Music Monday: Little Moments, Brad Paisley and More

This Music Monday is full of info and includes two songs because, well, I’ll explain as we get to them. 🙂

BRADPAISLEYVEVO. “Brad Paisley – Little Moments.” YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.

First up is Little Moments by Brad Paisley.  I adore this song. It is so cute — and the ending is perfect! And, in my opinion, it is the little moments that show the greatest amount of love in a relationship.  Grand gestures like romantic plans on Valentine’s Day as well as special getaways and gifts are all wonderful. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. However, when you’re struggling to keep it together because everything has gone wrong or the kids have stomped on your last nerve, and your husband folds the laundry or does the dishes or just wraps his arms around you and listens to your mostly coherent babbling — to me, those are the whispers that shout. Those little moments are so very precious.

I do have a story connection for this song, too.  Tomorrow, February 14, is release day for So Very Unexpected. (It may actually be available already. Due to a blizzard warning being issued, I uploaded the files early just in case we run into power outage issues.)   Now, if you read this story when it was posting on Thursdays, I think you will agree with me that Marcus and Lydia will likely have a lot of little moments in their relationship.  Even the manner in which they met in his cottage because she had taken a wrong turn seem to fit quite well with this song.

I will be at Austen Authors tomorrow with an excerpt and some thoughts as well as a chance to win an ebook copy of So Very Unexpected.  Stop by if you get the chance.

So obviously, I spent time getting my post for Austen Authors ready this week. I thought I had it done before but then, changed my mind and rewrote it.  🙂  I also spent a good bit of time rereading So Very Unexpected and making the line edits. Then, I made certain the print cover was ready — the spine width could not be set until the final page number was known.  This also required the writing of a synopsis for the back of the book and the various retail sites.  By the time I got all that done it was Saturday! So, no new words on my current work in progress. 🙁

As I sat down to begin getting blog posts scheduled on Friday, I kept coming back to this thought:  “What will I share on Monday? I really want to share something new on Monday.”  Well, yesterday, I decided to give myself a writing exercise. When I have not written in a week or more, I often find a writing exercise beneficial.  Below is my writing exercise. In honor of both Valentine’s Day and the release of So Very Unexpected which is the third book in the Willow Hall Romance series, I decided to write a love letter — a particular love letter.  In book 2, Darcy leaves Willow Hall and on his way, he stops to deliver a letter to Elizabeth.  One of the readers here on my blog mentioned that they would like to see that letter (I think it was Linda who suggested it), and I wrote that idea down for later.  Well, it’s now later. 🙂  (And song two is after the letter…so keep reading.)  Continue reading Music Monday: Little Moments, Brad Paisley and More

Music Monday: Thunderstruck, 2Cellos

In this week’s Music Monday post, I am sharing a bit about what I did with my writing time this past week as well as a story snippet and a fun video that I think sums up how Elizabeth feels in the excerpt when she figures out exactly where she is.  Enjoy! And have a great Monday!

2Cellos. “2CELLOS – Thunderstruck [OFFICIAL VIDEO].” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.

WRITING NEWS: 

This week has been a low word count week for writing. There were other things that needed doing.  One of the things that I did was create a new cover for

One of the things that I did was create a new cover forSo Very Unexpected So Very Unexpected.   I had one that I was using as I was writing and editing the book, but I wasn’t completely happy with it. I am much better pleased with this new cover.  At the same time, I also created a cover for At All Costs and for the bundled Willow Hall Romance series.  I have also started working on the print cover for So Very Unexpected as well as getting final file formats started. I should have my last edits back this week and NEXT Tuesday, the book should be published in ebook format with print being ready shortly after.

Part of my writing time this week was devoted to the new story I have started and the other part was given to preparing an Austen Author’s post for next Tuesday. The first draft of that post is ready, but it still needs graphics. And I must decide if I am going to do a giveaway.

One reason I did not get as much story written this week is that I have hit a wall of thinking (which means I must be at least halfway through as that is where this wall usually hits). There are details that need to be considered. So while my brain works on those things, I did some reading and a bit of planning.  Between this and the graphic work for the covers, my brain is feeling nearly ready to tackle those decisions.

STORY EXCERPT: Continue reading Music Monday: Thunderstruck, 2Cellos

Music Monday: Two Period Drama Videos, Falling (Keri Noble)

I have two videos for you today — same song, different story — because I just could not pick one. I love both movies that have been paired up with this beautiful song.  Writing news and a story excerpt can be found below the second video.

Hernandez, Danielle. “North and South – Falling.” YouTube. YouTube, 30 Mar. 2008. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.
Tiyera. “Pride and Prejudice – Darcy & Elizabeth – Falling.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.

So which video did you like best? I really could not choose one.  They are both on my Music Meets Movies playlist on Youtube.  I picked this song to share today because of the excerpt that I am sharing.  Like many (most) of my books, So Very Unexpected is a story of two characters meeting and slowly realizing that they love each other.

In this book, the love story begins as a friendship.  Marcus finds Lydia in his cottage and befriends her on their trip back to Willow Hall.  Lydia has not had many true friends in her life and having someone like her just for herself and not for what they can get from her is a new experience.  As the story progresses this friendship evolves into something deeper — love.  The excerpt below is part of the chapter where Marcus is finally asked to consider Lydia as wife, and it is where his “fear” sets in as he wrestles with the thought.

So Very Unexpected is in its final stages of editing, and its release date is scheduled for February 14, 2017.

STORY EXCERPT FROM So Very Unexpected

*( ) added to clarify characters

“The scoundrel (Wickham) may attempt to scheme his way into the coffers of whomever Miss Lydia marries.”  He (Marcus) leaned forward and glared at both men (Mr. Williams and Philip). “You know as well as I that not all husbands will be kind to a wife they think has played them for a fool.”  His heart beat heavily against his ribs while his fingers clutched the arms of his chair. How could they suggest such a thing? It would be better for Lydia never to marry than to be subjected to such treatment.

“Yes,” said Philip, pushing a folded piece of paper across the desk toward Marcus, “we have taken that into consideration.  I made a list of men I knew to be upstanding in my estimation.  The list was not long, of course.  We are not well-stocked with eligible gentlemen here in Kympton at present, so I included those I knew from Lambton.”

Marcus attempted to take the paper from the desk, but Philip held it in place by pressing down on it.

“Lucy wishes for me to say that she had only your description and a few comments made yesterday by Aunt Tess upon which to base her opinions when eliminating names.”  Philip removed his hand from the paper.  “However, she also had a few opinions of her own about some of the gentlemen I had included and therefore, would not allow their names to remain on the list.”

Marcus opened the paper.  A list of about fifteen names had been whittled down to five.  “Harris?  I dare say he would not treat her well,” Marcus muttered.  “It was he who called her a flirt to Miss Elizabeth.”

“Would you like to remove his name?” Philip held out a pen.  Had Marcus not been so disgusted with his cousin as a choice and therefore so eager to scratch out his name, he might have noticed the amused look that passed between Philip and Mr. Williams.

Marcus scooted to the edge of his chair and, placing the paper on the desk, scratched out his cousin’s name.  “Besides, he is only a captain.” He looked up at Philip.  “The bottom of what Miss Lydia finds acceptable for rank.  Now, Colonel Fitzwilliam has a better rank and good connections,” he drew a line through the name, “but Mary Ellen would not be pleased.”

“She should make her interest known,” muttered Philip.

“Perhaps, but I will not attempt to steer the object of her affections away from her.”

“Just as you refuse to inform him of her affections?” Philip asked with a laugh.

“Precisely.”  Marcus grinned at his brother.  “For the same reasons you have not made mention of it.”

Philip inclined his head in acknowledgment of the fact.

Marcus returned his attention to the list and scratched out the next two names.  “Not sensible enough.  It would be a home filled with folly,” he muttered about the first.  “Too sensible. She would be thought a fool,” he said of the second and looked up at his brother, “which she is not.”

He made one last omission from the list and, placing the pen on the desk, sat back in his chair.  It had taken some fortitude to omit the last name, for a small flutter in the vicinity of his heart wished for the gentleman to succeed with Lydia.

“You have made our task impossible.”  Philip’s words were stern, but his expression was not.  “You did not mention why the last man was unacceptable.”

“He is too old, and she is too young.”

Philip picked up the paper and motioned to his brother to lean forward.  Then, he looked very carefully at Marcus’ face.   “I am afraid you are wrong.”  He picked up the pen and added Marcus’ name once again to the list.

“I am not.”

Philip nodded and pointed to the corner of his eye.  “No lines.  Therefore, not old.”  He grinned.  “Although not young either.”

“I cannot marry her.”  The words cut at his heart.  “She is not ready to take on Aldwood Abbey.”

Mr. Williams snorted.  “She is not ready, or you are not?”  He stood.  “Your grandfather said the same about your mother when your father married.”  His hand rested on Marcus’s shoulder.  “And she did struggle at first, but ask anyone in your father’s employ, she rose to the challenge, just as I expect, Miss Lydia would. She is quick enough to see a blackguard for what he is and cunning enough to bend him to her purposes.  So, unless you can find a name to replace yours, you will have to accept one of the fellows you crossed off — or take on the responsibility yourself.”  He gave Marcus’ shoulder a pat.  “With you, she would, at least, be safe. Gentleman.”  He bowed and took his leave.

Philip rose. “I suppose my tea will be cold.”

Marcus nodded and took up his hat.  He really did not care if his brother’s tea was cold.  In fact, if he had not promised to take tea with Aunt Tess, he would just go home.  How could he face Lydia when his mind was in such a jumbled state.  Marry her?  See her married to another? Neither seemed an acceptable outcome.

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Leenie B Books

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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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Music Monday: Shape of My Heart, 2Cellos

2Cellos. “2CELLOS – Shape Of My Heart [OFFICIAL VIDEO].” YouTube. 09 Dec. 2014. Web. 08 Jan. 2017.

Happy Monday! Isn’t this a beautiful piece of music to start the week? It is one of my favourites to listen to while writing. (Yes, I know I have a lot of favourites, but they are all so good. 🙂 )

I chose to feature this video today for a couple of reasons that are related to what I was working on this week.  First, the plucking of the strings makes me think of traveling by horse or carriage and the constant clip-clop of hooves as you roll or ride along for hours. There was a good deal of travel in what I was writing this week because Bingley had some business to take care of.

Second, the visuals of floating and burning papers made me think of things happening in the plot.  The business our hero left to complete was not of a pleasant nature, and it was the sort of which you do not really wish to have documentation.  (Yes, I am talking about Bingley as the hero here. There is something surprising hidden behind that pleasant exterior.)

I finished the story except for an epilogue, and, thanks to the help of a reader and friend on Facebook, I have a title for this fourth book in the Willow Hall Romance series. Yay!  The title is At All Costs, and I think it fits perfectly since the story, both for the hero and one of the “villains” (yes, one of them — there are several that cause trouble), is a story of fighting for and protecting your love at all costs.

I plan to write the epilogue in a few weeks after I have edited So Very Unexpected. That book is slated to be published on February 14, 2017, so I am busy doing the first round of edits so that I can send it to my first reader, fix what she tells me, and then send it on to my proofreaders/copy editors. This means the story has disappeared from the blog, but I have left a link to a two chapter preview on my Leenie B Books page. I am enjoying going back to this story after being away from it for about two months.  I still love Lydia!

I believe that is all the writing news I have for you today.  This week, I will be editing and working on my Austen Author’s blog post for next Tuesday (which will feature a giveaway).  Enjoy your week! Hopefully, you will get to stop by the blog on Wednesday and Thursday for a lovely painting and a full chapter of At All Costs. 

EXCERPT FROM At All Costs:  *Contains spoilers and a cliffhanger. 🙂 *

The sun was setting as Bingley and Richard wound their way through the streets of London.  They had paused long enough upon arrival to leave their bags at Bingley’s townhouse and for Bingley to stop at his solicitor’s office to check on the progress of marriage papers and a special license.  Now, however, he and Richard had left the favourable portion of town and were slowly making their way down toward the river. 

Bingley waved to some chap who was seated on a crate marking things off in his notebook. 

“She sails at dawn,” the man called. 

“Where to?” Bingley called back.  Continue reading Music Monday: Shape of My Heart, 2Cellos