I should probably post about my dress for JASNA AGM, blog about the entire experience etc. and I will soon, but I am unapacked and I finally hired a babysitter so I can have writing/publishing time during the week instead of trying to scrunch it all in on the weekends and it’s amazing. I feel like I can breathe!
First things first! A new book baby!
I’ve only got it up on Amazon right now. Publishing on Nook, Kobo and ibooks and doing the paperback is on the to do list for tonight.
The Witches of Austen Series is a short story series re-imagining all of your favorite Austen heroes and heroines. Books one through four mash up Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.
Blurb: In the Autumn of 1812, Great Britain has been in a bloody war with France for twenty years and Napoleon seeks to claim all of Europe as his own. The country needs a hero…or three…
Jane and Elizabeth Bennet couldn’t love their step-sister, Kate, more. Five years ago, their parents married after an epidemic killed Frances Bennet, her youngest daughters, and the visiting Reverend Morland. Despite not being related by blood, the sisters are devoted to each other, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. The return of inhabitants to Netherfield Abbey awakens their long dormant powers, but these upheavals threaten their sisterly affection. As dark forces gather strength for an attack on the inexperienced witches, the sisters unknowingly hold a secret weapon that can restore order to the world.
And here’s what’s next on the plate:
November 1 kicks of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or Nano for short). Writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in a month, averaging to 1,666 words a day. This is totally achievable for me. I got really close last year. My problem was interest began to wane on the story as i started to worry and think it should be an original (I’ve waffled a lot but am finally agreeing it should be and will be editing it for publication Summer 2016). This year my problem is that it’s almost November 1 and I don’t know which story to do! I NEED your help!
I’m including brief samples and blurbs of stories that I’ve outlined and researched on. I’m terrible with titles right now so please vote by number.
#1: Set in the industrial city of Wolverhampton, Penelope Jenners has been blessed with fortune and standing few daughters of tradesmen have. Her life has been clean and orderly, but the real world is anything but picturesque.
May 12, 1812
First she heard the gun shots, then her mother scream.
Twenty year old Penelope Jenners startled in her chair causing her maid to poke her with a pin. She would have dashed down the stairs immediately still half-dressed but for her father’s guests. She could hardly guess what was happening outside her Wolverhampton home but knew within its walls all was safe and her punishment for childish displays would be extreme.
“Make haste!” she cried testily at the maid.
An intolerable five minutes later she looked every bit the composed lady as she entered the drawing room. For a moment no one noticed her entrance, the men were all in groups and discussing something heatedly while peering over newspapers. Finally, Mr. John Clarke saw her and stood.
Her father looked up and hastened to her side. “Where is Mamma? What is happening?” She asked while trying to not jump at yet another volley of gunfire.
“Your mother was taken to her rooms. I am afraid we have had very sad news this evening.” He motioned for a paper and Mr. Clarke brought his over. “The Prime Minister was assassinated yesterday evening.”
She sucked in a quick breath. No wonder her mother was so distressed. Spencer Perceval was not only the prime minister but a friend to merchants and manufacturers like her family. His policies protected them from the lawless rebels that would destroy their factories.
“Those savages out there are actually rejoicing!” a guest declared.
“Johnson, there is no need to alarm her.”
“What is known?” she calmly asked.
“Not much,” Mr. Clarke replied. “Mr. Perceval was entering Parliament for a vote when he was shot. Others were able to apprehend the assassain immediately. The man is said to have grievances against the government.”
“But is it known if he acted alone or…”
“Or if he was part of a greater conspiracy?” Mr. Clarke finished for her and she nodded her head. “I am afraid Miss Penelope, we may not know for some time. Undoubtedly we have dark days coming.”
#2: If blood is thicker than water…
then it will take one of their own to bring about the end of the Jacobite claims to the throne of England. James Coventry, 9th Earl of Deerhurst, has been groomed since childhood, as an illegitimate descendant of Charles II, to help with the next planned uprising to restore the Stuarts to the throne. While Britain’s forces are occupied with Napoleon and the militia worried about Luddite riots, Coventry’s uncle, the Duke of St. Albans, has masterminded a plan to cut off the Hanoverian line.
Witty, intelligent and independent…
Lady Hannah Edgecumbe writes gothic novels for her own amusement. Although the descendant of an executed witch, she believes witchcraft and the supernatural are just mere entertainment for a story. Hannah’s stories gain the notice of government agents who believe she she has sleuthing abilities. Suspecting Coventry and St. Albans’ plans, the agents send her to learn all she can. She learns more than she bargained for, however, when she is forced to wed Coventry. When the Thames freezes over, her husband’s uncle is convinced she is the key to his plot and the fulfillment of a century old prophecy.
“Burn the witch!” Melisande heard the shouts outside her cottage. The townsfolk, collectively, were strong and angry. The winter of 1683-84 had been the harshest in memory or legend. The Thames froze over a foot deep and the other canals froze as well, effecting the transport of goods and the means of money for many in the area.
With the cold also came disease. Her husband had been the apothecary, but was of the first victims. For a time, Melisande continued his work, mixing the potions and visiting the ill. No one rebuked her efforts. Soon, the Squire’s favourite daughter took sick. Lord de Vere doubted the convention of a female apothecary and refused to give all of the necessary treatment to his child. When she did not recover, he refused to pay Melisande. Fearing the loss of being able to feed her twin daughters, Hannah and Helen, Melisande began to demand payment before services rendered.
The townsfolk became suspicious of her motives. The winter continued and the crops could not be planted. The disease spread and soon not only could people not pay, but there were no plants for the tonic. Day by day, Melisande saw her community, and her own family, fade away. Now, only her eldest daughter remained.
Members of a community prove how integral they are during a crisis. Leading to this moment came the deaths of the baker, the butcher, the miller and the magistrate. What little crop there had been could not be refined and consumed. Losing their sanity as they saw their family starve and perish, the townspeople believed Melisande withheld the cure. Some even said she cast a spell to create the freezing weather.
Pulling out her journal she looked over her oft-repeated prayer, much like what the Lord told the prophet Joel about restoring what was eaten away by pests. “Restore to me what the frost has taken. Restore to me what the disease has taken. Restore my children…”
Her prayer was cut short by the door being cut down. “Find her!” She heard them yell from the front room.
“Hannah, go! Go!” Melisande watched as her eldest daughter ran to the back door but hesitate. “Run, do not stop! Run!” The two women’s eyes met and tears glistened as her daughter made it out the door amidst the rabble.
Melisande lost consciousness as her crazed neighbors drug her to the prepared pyre. When she came to, the flames leapt around her.
“Your last words!” They called out for her.
“God will restore…when the frost returns…God will restore…”
#3: A good daughter listens to her mother and marries to please her family. Cecilia Ward’s path in life is clear…or is it?
Cecilia Ward saw his mouth moving but heard no words. The loud buzzing sound began as soon as he said the word betrothed.
She had ignored the rumors for weeks now. He was only paying attention to Miss Susannah Ashley because her family was new to Bath and their fathers were friends. Everyone knew that Mr. John Landing had been courting Cecilia for nearly a year. Everyone knew they were only waiting until her one and twentieth birthday, when she would receive her inheritance, to wed. Everyone knew it was nearly love at first sight for the gossipped about daughter of a former opera singer and the impoverished composer.
“We shall still be friends,” his words finally registered as he squeezed her hand and left her side.
Cecilia fought back tears as she noticed the curious looks of those around her. He chose to tell her of his defection and betrothal in the midst of the upper rooms. Pulling on the emotional strength growing up in poverty, uncertainty and as the constant source of whispers gave her, she plastered a fake smile on her face and returned to her friends.
As she sipped the tea that turned to ash in her mouth, she realized she had done exactly what her mother had. She fell for the words of a charming rogue. True, she had not given him her virtue. Instead, she gave him something she thought infinitely rarer and more precious: her pride and identity. She, who had once craved being Society’s favorite virtuoso, had forsaken her most steadfast dreams of independence to be a poor composer’s wife. Soon after their very first conversation she altered her opinion on the importance of marriage for a lady.
She would never be that fool again. She would never marry. She would never trust a man- lying, deceitful creatures that they were- again.
#4 JAFF: Just before leaving Longbourn to visit her friend in Kent, Elizabeth Bennet overhears a terrible plot against her family. Hoping it nothing more than idle boasting, but cautious nonetheless, Elizabeth swallows her pride and asks Mr. Darcy for help. Pleased to see his gentlemanly side and believing her family is well, Elizabeth sees Darcy in a new light. Freedom from their pride and prejudices, however, does not necessarily mean an easy path to happiness.
Elizabeth took a deep breath as Darcy pulled the borrowed phaeton to a stop outside the Gardiner residence in Cheapside. He gave her a small smile and offered his hand for her to exit the carriage. It was still raining and her wet and muddied gown caught under her foot lurching her forward. Before she could even cry out Darcy’s hands were on her waist, catching her before any harm was done.
He only nodded and they walked up the stairs in tandem. Both felt too much and were conscious of the seriousness of the reasons for their journey. They were soon shown in the front hall, aware of the puddles they made.
“Lizzy!” Mrs. Gardiner quickly greeted them.
“Mr. Darcy may I present my aunt, Mrs. Edward Gardiner. Aunt, this is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.”
“A pleasure, sir. Welcome to our home.”
“I am delighted to meet you.” Darcy spoke with perfect civility and Elizabeth was surprised to find she was not astonished at his politeness at all. She had come to know him well over the last few weeks.
“We expected you hours ago, but I can see you must have been caught in a downpour. Please, come to the drawing room and enjoy the fire. The children are abed and we can speak freely in there.”
“Forgive me but as you mention it is quite late and I am quite wet and muddy. I would hate to ruin anything. Would it be possible for me to call on the morrow?”
He caught Elizabeth’s eye and perceiving what he was about she shook her head negatively. He returned to looking at Mrs. Gardiner. “Miss Elizabeth expressed a desire to be introduced to my sister. Would it inconvenience you if she came?”
“Mr. Darcy…” Elizabeth began to interject but her aunt stepped forward and squeezed her hand, muting Elizabeth.
“You are both very welcome, sir. Mr. Gardiner will be home for dinner. We eat at six o’clock.”
“Does this meet with your approval, Miss Elizabeth?”
“You need not bring Miss Darcy on the morrow, sir.” He gave her a look and she let out an exasperated sigh. “If you are not able to speak with my uncle until after dinner would your sister feel comfortable with strangers for so many hours? Nor is it sensible to bring her in the morning, return her to your home and then come back for dinner.”
He stepped closer to her and a small smile played about his lips. Her aunt was entirely forgotten.
“Are you giving me leave to arrive at your uncle’s home without the pretence of my sister?”
Elizabeth beamed back at him. “Yes, I am giving you leave to call on me.”
His smile broadened and Elizabeth could not keep the lightness in her heart escaping through laughter. Fortunately, Darcy recalled himself.
“Thank you for your kind offer, Mrs. Gardiner but it seems unnecessary. I look forward to dining here tomorrow and meeting your husband. Have a good evening.” He turned again to Elizabeth and bowed over her hand. “Until tomorrow, Miss Elizabeth.”
So, what would you most like to see?