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.”

~*~*~

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

Music Monday: Let Her Go, Passenger/Break of Reality

Today, along with some writing news and a short story excerpt, I have the same song two times for you.  The first video is an instrumental cover of Passenger’s “Let Her Go” by Break of Reality. This video is on my writing playlist (no lyrics means it can play while I write).

Break of Reality. “Let Her Go – Passenger Cello Cover by Break of Reality.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 May 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.

The second video (below) is a lyrics video that someone created. I thought I would share that one for those who might be curious as to what the words to the song are. It’s not a happy song, but I have not been writing happy stuff this week (see excerpt), so it fits.

Marcohordijk. “Passenger – Let Her Go (Lyrics).” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Dec. 2012. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.

So what have I been doing this week in my writing life?

  • I was worked on getting the print version of Discovering Mr. Darcy ready.  That was not easily done as my computer did not wish to play nice with CreateSpace for a couple of days, and then, I forgot to change the font colour on the spine and didn’t notice until I got the digital proof back. That has been fixed, and I finally have a print proof on its way for approval. They say that I should have it by April 25th.  I am hoping I have it sooner. 😉

 

  • I finished Not An Heiress — the epilogue is done! And it was fun writing a little bit about the Darcy and Fitzwilliam children. 🙂  And I began first round edits on the story in preparation for June publication. Although this story will not be ready to release for a couple of months, I am hoping to have a preorder up for it by Tuesday, so that when readers finish DMD, they can order NAH and be ready to continue the story that the epilogue of DMD hints at.

 

  • I returned to writing With the Colonel’s Help just in time for the story to take a sad, angsty turn. As a result, writing times have been shorter and word counts have been less because I struggle with the emotions of writing things like this in large doses. I internalize the emotions — happy or sad — when writing and reading. I have needed a longer “decompression” time after those sections. The good news is I think the story should be through its darkest part very soon, and then I can get things set right. That should be easier (and faster) to write.

And now for…

A SHORT EXCERPT FROM With The Colonel’s HelpContinue reading Music Monday: Let Her Go, Passenger/Break of Reality

Music Meets Movies Monday: Elinor&Edward, It’s You

Today, we have a little twist to the Music Monday video selection.  This is the most recent addition to my Music Meets Movies playlist on YouTube.  I find this playlist to be a wonderful place to take a few minutes break before I begin writing or between writing activities such as switching from editing to writing.

Catchingraindrops24. “Elinor & Edward | It’s You.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Oct. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.

I find listening to song lyrics is a great source of creative inspiration — especially when they are paired with lovely images from a favourite Jane Austen adaptation.  However, I can’t actually listen to music with words when I write because it is too distracting, so I leave them for those times when I’m not writing.

For the past three weeks, I have been trying out a new routine for my writing work time — breaking it into sections dedicated to various things that need doing. Two of those sections are editing and writing new things.  When I have to transition from editing to writing, I need to have something to calm the critical section of my brain and help me relax into the creative part of my brain.  Music works very well for this.

During my editing time slots this week, I was able to complete the first round of edits on At All Costs, and in one writing section, I wrote its epilogue.  That story has now been sent off to my first reader, and I am waiting to get her comments back before I will touch it again.  I will be putting Discovering Mr. Darcy in the editing time slot this next week as I got that manuscript back from my second reader.  Hopefully, I will have news about a preorder of that book by next Monday.

My writing time this week focused on Not An Heiress, the sequel to Discovering Mr. Darcy, and I managed to add about 8,000 words to it. I think I am on the downward side of the story hill and should have the story wrapped up in another week or a bit more.  And then it can slip into that editing slot. 🙂

Below is one day’s worth of words from my writing times this week, and, I think, the song above matches up pretty well with what has been happening in this section of the book. (I also happen to envision Mary as looking a lot like Elinor in this version of Sense and Sensibility.)

A Word of Warning:  I am at least halfway through this story, so, as always when we get to the second part of a story, this excerpt will contain spoilers. 🙂

EXCERPT FROM Not An Heiress: 
Continue reading Music Meets Movies Monday: Elinor&Edward, It’s You

Music Monday: The Northern Mist, Dan Gibson

Last Saturday, a friend and I visited a local thrift store. They were having a twenty percent off everything sale — how can you resist that!  As is my normal habit on entering a thrift store, I began my perusal of items with the books, DVDs, music CDs, and paintings. In other words, all the imagination inspiring treasures.

“Dan Gibson The Northern Mist.” YouTube. Ed. RELAX NATURE MUSIC -Emmaqui3♥. YouTube, 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

I found two CDs of instrumental music. They have both found their way onto my mp3 player on my desk, and I have been listening to birds while writing every day this week.  The song in the video above is track two on Songbirds at Sunrise. In my opinion, which is the one that matters when the music is for my writing time 😉 , I think these songs are perfect for imagining a scene in a garden or meadow, and part of what I wrote did take place in a garden. However, only a small part. So, apparently, the music is equally as effective when plotting compromising scenes in libraries.  Sadly, I am only going to share the garden portion today.

The story I was focusing on writing this week is called Not an Heiress and is a sequel to the story Discovering Mr. Darcy — this story got its epilogue and has been sent off to my last editor.  It should be published sometime around the middle to latter part of April.

Other than writing just over 7,000 words on this new story, I also added close to 1,000 to With the Colonel’s Help and edited six chapters of At All Cost, which should be starting the editorial rounds by the beginning of April. Needless to say, it was a busy and tiring week, but it was also extremely enjoyable. I am quite excited about all four of the projects that demanded my attention this week.  So excited, that I have had trouble sleeping.  The good colonel has been assisting me with working out plot ideas when I should be sleeping.  I have asked him to wait until a more appropriate time of day, but it seems an impatient colonel outranks a mere authoress. 🙂

Now, shall we get on to the longish excerpt from Not an Heiress?  This sequel will focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mary Bennet and will feature a compromise.  As you should all know by now if you have read my secondary character stories, don’t expect a completely typical Mary.  This Mary reads sermons and is rather serious, but she has a particular reason, at least when Richard is around, for reading this material. (Also, Lady Catherine in this story and in Discovering Mr. Darcy is also not typical — demanding and all, but not typical.  This is definitely Austen with a twist.)

EXCERPT FROM Not an Heiress: 
Continue reading Music Monday: The Northern Mist, Dan Gibson

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: A Walk in the Forest, Brian Crain

I’m pulling out an old comfortable favourite for today’s post.  This song and others by this composer just have a way of wrapping me up in my imagination and tucking me away to find a good story.  So snuggle into the music, grab a cup of something warm and cozy, and let me tell you about what is happening in my writing world.

“A Walk in the Forest – Brian Crain.” YouTube. Ed. Connie K. YouTube, 28 Aug. 2009. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

This was a busy week at my home.  March Break starts today, so there were lessons and test and essays that needed to be completed before the break.  There were also appointments and gym sessions — well, only one as it turned out. And in between and around those things, I had to fit in some writing work.  But, you know, that’s just how life is — busy and satisfying even when it get tiring and you just want a nap.  I cannot complain. My life is good.

Last week started with a Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada meeting and workshop where we discussed dialogue and fan fiction. I enjoy those craft sessions. It is good to stop and think about what we as writers are doing.

Then on Monday, I made certain my Austen Authors blog post was ready. Tomorrow, March 14, I will be sharing that Mansfield Park scene I mentioned writing a couple of weeks ago.  Be sure to stop by to have a read!

And then, I began on my list of writing projects.  Currently, I have three projects underway.

Discovering Mr. Darcy is nearly ready to send to my last editor before publication. I had hoped to have this story out this month, but it is looking more like it will be April before that will happen.  Right now, I am working on an epilogue at my first reader’s suggestion. However, my brain was a little short on creativity, so I have sought the excellent help of the members of Leenie’s Sweeties for ideas.  This week, I will sift through their suggestions and get that written.

I have begun first round edits on At All Costs.  I am through chapter 5, and I think, I may have begun posting this story on the forum at darcyandlizzy.com.  As I am writing this post on Saturday afternoon while my guys are all off at work, I have not yet begun posting it.  I assume I will get to that, but you know how life can be at times and what is planned is not what happens.  The chapters have not changed drastically from what has been posted here…a few more details have been given and more of the typos have been eliminated.

My third project is probably going to be the next Thursday’s Three Hundred story when At All Costs wraps up at the end of April.  It is called With the Colonel’s Help and is the story that I shared a portion of last week.  I have only gotten a bit further in that story. I am now on chapter 2 and only part way through it. It is a good think I have until the end of April to have it ready to being posting. 🙂 However, even though I have not progressed as far as I would have liked to since last week.  I will share a bit of chapter 2 below.

EXCERPT FROM With the Colonel’s Help Continue reading Music Monday: A Walk in the Forest, Brian Crain