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

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: 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: 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

Music Monday: Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

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

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. 🙂

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. 🙂 )

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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