Tuesday Trivia– Match Austen the quote with the book

Can you match these quotes from Jane Austen’s works with the right book? I did have to guess on two but managed to get a perfect score. I would say the description it gave afterward is spot on, but it did get one detail wrong. Don’t worry. I fixed it. I’ll let you guess if you can see where I had to change it. Tell me your score in the comments!

You practically belong at Pemberley, drinking afternoon tea and planning what you will wear to the ball this evening. Though you fancy yourself an Elizabeth Bennet, truthfully you might be more like Lydia than you’d like to imagine. You likely have strong feelings about Pride & Prejudice and favor the Colin Firth Matthew MacFadyen version above all others. While casual fans may only dip into the well-known Austen books, you’ve read them all several times and can quickly tell an Elinor Dashwood from a Mary Crawford.

Can You Match the Jane Austen Quote to the Book?

https://www.women.com/amanda/can-you-match-the-jane-austen-quote-to-the-book#/results

Mr. Darcy’s Compassion– Chapter Ten

Previous Chapters: Previous Chapters: One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six / Seven  / Eight / Nine

Chapter Ten

 

Elizabeth’s anger mellowed to a simmer by the time darkness fell. She had still not spoken to Darcy again, despite a few attempts on his side. If her ankle had permitted it, she would have left hours ago. However, as she was bound to the bed with not even a book to read—that would have required asking Darcy for assistance—she had nothing but her thoughts.

When she had left Longbourn, it was because there was no other way. Indeed, she had not intended to leave it forever or leave her sisters permanently behind. Her aunt and uncle had chosen to betray her rather than help. Elizabeth thought she learned her lesson on trusting others. Yet, here she was, entirely dependent upon Darcy. He had rescued her as much as any knight in shining armour had a damsel in distress. She had not been locked in a tower, and there was no fire-breathing dragon, but she was trapped just the same. Fleetingly, Elizabeth wondered if the other damsels feared to let go of their past and all they had known—even if it was imprisonment with fear of death—rather than face an unknown life and trust a stranger.

It was not the unknown which made Elizabeth so uncomfortable. She had faced that before. For her own sake, she could choose it again. However, she had come to rely on Darcy. She thought him incapable of disappointing her or of showing that selfishness which invaded every aspect of her life before.

Attached to the fact that she had not learned her lesson regarding trusting others, Elizabeth knew she had acted too rashly. Since leaving Longbourn, it seemed as though every decision required an answer that very instant. More than once she had to decipher if a man meant to harm her or if a hallway was safe to enter. The work in the tavern itself required fast thinking and hearing orders amidst the loud noise. She needed to be mindful of Cuthbert’s demands and attuned to the moods of the other maids. She quickly learned it did not do to earn the patronage of too many tables lest the other ladies have none. In such an atmosphere it was better to focus on cooperative work and keep her head down. Perhaps that is when she began agreeing with everything anyone said. The very decision to come to this town and this inn was decided upon the spur of the moment. Elizabeth had prided herself that it would be all the better then. The Gardiners and Bennets could hardly guess in which direction she fled, and they did not have the resources to search everywhere indefinitely.

The evening wore on and eventually, Darcy excused himself. Molly entered, and seemingly perceiving Elizabeth’s mood, did not chatter as usual. By the time Darcy returned, Elizabeth was in bed feigning sleep. He murmured a good night and laid on the settee.

Rest did not find her that night. Judging by how long it took for her to hear Darcy’s deep breathing and eventual snores, sleep took a long time to find him as well. Elizabeth wrestled with her thoughts until just before dawn. Instinctively, she knew all of this went far deeper than anything Darcy had said or done.

The Elizabeth who trusted Wickham had trusted too easily. Since Darcy left Hertfordshire, there had been blow after blow in Elizabeth’s life, all teaching her to not think well of others. Everyone had their own motive, and it had nothing to do with her well-being. If she did not wish to be trampled by life, she should take care of herself first. Indeed, she was powerless to do anything else. If she could not save Jane, she could not save anyone. The piece of old Elizabeth who could see the good in people and make some allowance for their character—the part that had been influenced by Jane, Elizabeth mused—whispered to allow Darcy time to explain his actions. The new Elizabeth screamed loudly in her mind. She should not trust Darcy or anyone else. Their actions always proved them.

When at last she fell asleep, she dreamed of two versions of herself on a battlefield. Instead of fighting with guns, they grasped opposite ends of a rope and tugged with all their might. She recognised the Elizabeth of her present thoughts: she wore dirty, ragged clothes. Soot smeared on her face, and she wore a mean expression. The other Elizabeth looked as though she had no real care in the world. Her gown was soft and spotless. Her countenance held no regrets, only smiles, and laughter. Throughout the night, they battled, and when Elizabeth awoke more exhausted than if she had not slept, there was no definite winner.

The dream faded in the stark reality. She was cold and alone in the big bed of the chamber. Hating that she had grown accustomed to waking in Darcy’s arms, she mentally scolded herself. Glancing around, she did not see him. Fear replaced the irritation. Where had he gone? Had he left her?

“Why should I care?” Elizabeth asked in frustration as she buried her head in her hands. No tears came but her head ached, and her mind was exhausted from warring with itself.

Darcy knocked and asked if he could enter, his voice immediately calming Elizabeth. She timidly answered. He entered bearing a tray of tea and breakfast things, taking in her expression.

“I thought you might want to eat. You did not yesterday.”

Elizabeth’s stomach loudly rumbled in agreement. She had been too angry to think of food. Should she take his offering? Her stomach growled again, her body telling her she was a fool even if her mind would not. Did she think she was independent and could survive without him? He was gone a matter of minutes, and she worried he had left her forever. She could not even acquire food without his assistance!

Determined to at least rectify that, she tossed her legs over the bed and tested the strength of her ankle. Darcy was tinkering with the tea things, and she was halfway to him when he looked up.

“Elizabeth! I would have helped you!” He began to move to her side.

“No. It is gaining strength. It can never heal if I do not test it.” As Elizabeth said the words, she realised she might be speaking about more than the swollen joint.

She reached the settee and practically leaped into it, sighing when her weight was off her feet. It had been painful and challenging, but she had done it, and with more practice, it would grow easier. Darcy handed her a teacup, and their fingers grazed. Instead of the usual shock and tingles, she felt relief and comfort at his touch. He was still here, despite her behaviour and actions.

“I apologise for my words about your sister. You were correct, I was very hurt and not thinking clearly. I should allow you to explain.”

Darcy ceased stirring his tea and met her eyes. “I am exceedingly sorry to have wounded you. I would be happy to explain, but I do not understand what great sin I committed.”

Elizabeth bristled. She was doing more than meeting him halfway. She apologised first, and he still acted as though he were blameless! There was the pride and conceit he hid from her for the last few days. He acted as though it were all a matter of opinion or perspective. She was sure if someone had treated his sister as he had done to Jane, he would feel just as angry.

“Perhaps I ought to have concealed matters,” he said. “I should not have told you the truth. However, I do not think our relationship should be based on lies. I knew you would be unhappy for me to voice it, but I thought you understood. You had asked how I could marry you with a damaged reputation and I said I no longer cared what the ton thought. Two nights ago, I explained my reasoning for such. Although I did not outright state it, I did care what they thought. Their perceptions of me and what they held as right affected me greatly. I chose to leave Hertfordshire rather than fall in love with you. It was only after I left that I realised I had already fallen. I was in the middle before I knew I had begun.”

Elizabeth’s teacup remained halfway to her mouth during his speech. He thought she was angry on her own behalf? She had accepted that his love was inadequate to the obstacles her situation presented: relations in trade and little dowry. These realities barely troubled her. Could he be so senseless to the wound he gave Jane? Had he not just the other night blamed himself for Lydia? Lowering, her cup, she said, “I am not angry for myself. You confessed to convincing Bingley to remain in London.”

“The word convince might be a stretch,” Darcy said as he leaned back, seemingly accepting this could be a lengthy discussion. “I said nothing to him that I did not say to myself. I have no special mind control tactics or abilities. For that, you would need to speak with my cousin, the Colonel. He oversees querying captive soldiers for information.”

“What were these reasons? It did not seem to disturb Mr. Bingley before you spoke with him that we had relations in trade or little money.”

Darcy gave her a confused look. “I will admit those would have been greater evils to me than to my friend, but they were not what I discussed. You have explained your reasons for leaving Longbourn to me and have made it seem as though it was all because of a few poor decisions since November. However, you are no fool. You know it goes deeper. I would wager those are the thoughts that torment you when you think I am not looking. Will you hold me accountable for perceiving what you did not until recently?”

Air left Elizabeth’s lungs on a whoosh. Had she attempted to blame him when she really blamed herself? Yes. Yes, she certainly had. She ducked her head. “You left Hertfordshire because of my family’s behaviour?”

“It was a confluence of things. There was almost a total want of propriety from your mother, three younger sisters, and even your father. It was not one or two actions or statements. It was apparent to me that the Bennet family had many disorderly attributes and I had no hope of them improving. If they acted that way in public, what happened in private? What evil working would befall their minds and work their way into a marriage?”

“And my sisters’ elopements are a testament to that!”

“Do not forget that my sister also desired to elope. I did judge harshly when I had no right. My sister hid her misery whereas yours did not. However, Georgiana also chose to tell me about the elopement. She eventually confided in me about her abuse. However, we have left the topic at and.” He sighed. “The evening of the ball at Netherfield, Sir William Lucas made it sound as though the entire area expected a proposal from Bingley—or that he already had and they only needed to settle a date. I had often seen Bingley in love and had not previously thought anything of his attachment to your sister Jane. After Sir William’s words, however, I took careful notice of them. Bingley did display a greater preference than I had ever seen before. Your sister, however, did not. For a lady who could be so assured of Bingley’s sentiments—I would say far more assured than most ladies—she seemed to take no pleasure in his attention or the inevitable outcome. Your mother loudly crowed all evening of her intended goals for Jane—and all of you. It would not be unusual for a docile daughter to follow her mother’s choices. If my own observation of Jane had not been enough, your mother constantly declared Jane the most biddable and agreeable daughter. I believed it probable she would marry where directed without regard to her own feelings. A marriage built upon that would be nothing but disaster. Bingley would be in love, and Jane was not and might never be.”

“Do you not see you have struck the very bargain you had hoped to keep your friend from?”

“Yes! To him, I have been kinder than to myself!”

Elizabeth marvelled that he could congratulate himself on sparing his friend’s feelings until she took in his countenance. Dark circles shaded under his eyes after their argument the previous evening. The acknowledgment that she might never love him had torn at him. The anguish he had when explaining about Miss Darcy was once again evident on his face. “You did not think Jane might have learned to love him?”

“To me, it appeared that was unlikely or that she would even have the opportunity with your mother rushing them to the altar. I have seen marriages like that. They end up despising one another as neither can give what the other most wants. We cannot be other people. We can only be ourselves, no matter how much we might try otherwise.”

Was that for her? Elizabeth’s conscience niggled at her even as she would have rather thought it applied to him as his pride had re-emerged after all. Oh, he had been so arrogant and conceited to think he could decipher Jane’s feelings from his limited observation. However, one thing was clear. It was done in compassion. He intended to save his friend from the feelings now tormenting him.

“I cannot explain it any better than that, Elizabeth,” he said. “I am a human, and I made an error. However, young couples in love are often separated, and they do not resort to what Jane did. You cannot make me responsible for her feelings any more than you are responsible for them.”

Incapable of forming words immediately after such blows, Elizabeth remained silent. She chose to finish her tea and read for several hours—or rather to hold a book as the pages could not interest her—before replying.

She had thought Darcy incapable of disappointing her. Then, she felt because he had that it must have been as motivated by selfishness as her relations. She had despaired of every good thing about him. The guilt of such thoughts weighed heavily on her for had she not seen his kind heart and actions over the last several days?

The ability to err and it not be a grievous wrong, that it was not with the intention to hurt, or acknowledged later with an apology and was foreign to her. It was freeing, too. For weeks she had wondered if she had done wrong by leaving Jane and Mary at Longbourn. It was not done with that intention, but that is where the decision led. Now, she acknowledged to herself there were things outside her control. She never could direct their feelings or how they handled a crisis. Why did Jane become so melancholy over Bingley? Whether or not it was a mistake to leave Longbourn, there could be recovery. She only needed to forgive herself.

“I have been thinking,” he said after an hour or two of silence. “If you believe your ankle is healed enough to travel, you could start on the journey tomorrow. It might be better if we do not travel together. You might enjoy the privacy and freedom to keep your own hours.”

“You wish me to leave you?” Elizabeth asked as sorrow filled her heart.

“No,” Darcy sighed. “The close confines have not served us well, I think. The sleeping arrangement is not what it should be, and I feel as though I am forcing you into things you do not prefer.”

Elizabeth returned her attention to her book, forcing herself to think for several minutes before replying. While Darcy spoke earlier, she had the realisation that she no longer wished to be carried by her emotions. She had reasoned that before but as she did not understand why she had come to rely upon them, she could not end the habit. Finally, she set her book aside. “I have been thinking about everything all wrong. I had thought you rescued me, which rankled my pride, even as I welcomed the reprieve. However, I think we are saving each other and learning to work together as a proper marriage requires. I must see things from your perspective, and you must see some of mine.”

“I am very willing to listen,” he encouraged.

“I apologise for blaming you for Jane’s feelings. I can see how it appeared to you and that you meant no harm. Indeed, the harm that did befall was unlikely. Additionally, I suppose you are correct. There must be some deeper problem at work for her to feel as she did. I am beginning to recognise there are for me too. Despite Jane’s goodness, she could not be immune to the devastation our parents wreaked.”

Elizabeth paused to see if Darcy still listened. He met her eye and seemed to smile encouragingly. Elizabeth explained to him all she had recently realised. It was nothing compared to the trials his sister faced and it did not manifest in the way it had with Jane, but it crippled her all the same.

It was as though she had lived with a disease for many years and now it finally attempted to make its claim upon her life. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet had never truly been the parents of Longbourn. That role fell to Jane and Elizabeth, mostly the latter as Jane was too kind-hearted to scold or anticipate deceit and poor decisions. It was not enough to merely acknowledge that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were responsible for the actions of their daughters. Elizabeth is the one who had tried to manage everything and everyone. She had believed she did a better job of it than either parent and yet her family disintegrated around her.

Somewhere in the middle of the exhausting retelling, Darcy had come to her side. He wrapped his arms around her, lending her strength and comfort. Elizabeth melted into his side.

“I fear it may take years to unlearn all the broken thinking with which I was raised.”

“That is perfectly acceptable,” Darcy said. “You are not alone in that. We all learn things from our parents and must choose to improve as adults.”

“I like how you say that. I choose to improve, although it is not easy, and I am terrified.”

“You do not have to do it alone,” he murmured against her ear. “Have you decided if you would prefer to journey ahead of me?”

As much as Elizabeth was acknowledging she needed to regain control of her impulses and emotions, she did not hesitate to squeeze Darcy tightly and kiss him before answering. “No. I do not wish to part from you. We will make our way together.”

Darcy answered with a searing kiss.

 

 

It will be a few days before I come back with the next chapter. The story is no where near finished, we are not quite at the half way mark. There is far more to come. The conflict will continue to center around Elizabeth’s psychological development but there are issues that need addressing: Wickham/Lydia, Georgiana, Jane and Mary, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, the whole barmaid secret thing. We’ll go through it all but at each stop, the conflict will be about how it affects Elizabeth’s development and the relationship with Darcy and it might not be what you have come to expect from the average JAFF (which I have certainly done before so I am not putting anyone down). I hope you stick around for the ride!

Guest Post– Lela Bay: Meant to Be…Kissed release & giveaway!

I’m pleased to have Lela Bay back with news about a collection of heartwarming romances! Read on for excerpts and news on how you can read for free!

The Comedy of Marriage

A big thank you to Rose Fairbanks for allowing me to guest blog.

Romances are often enhanced by the love stories of minor characters. Though they’re more in the background than our heroine’s yearnings and passions, when love is in the air we get glimpses into relationships all around. Like a Shakespearean comedy, where everyone ends up paired and married, romances thrill in the development of love.

Pride and Prejudice isn’t just about Darcy and Elizabeth, but also Jane and Bingley, and even Lydia and Wickham. Jane Austen’s Emma dwells on Frank Churchill and JaneFairfax, Harriett Smith and Robert Martin, and ultimately Emma and George Knightley.

Sometimes, romantic heroes exist in a world of their own, in empty hilltop cabins post-apocalyptic wastelands where they’re the last two people on earth—but that’s rare. More often, their passions make them myopic to others, but it’s for the author to delve into the lives of those around them.

In the story collection Meant to Be…KISSED from Meant to Be Press, lovely ladies rely on friends and relatives while searching their hearts.

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter of the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother. Later that night Rosamund’s sister, Amelia, stumbles into a muddy trap of her own. Luckily, a childhood friend is around to help:

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay

The nearby bushes rustled, and Rosamund waved an arm. “Hello? Please?”

“No, Rosamund, not in front of Alastair!”

Amelia’s warning arrived too late. Alastair appeared from the bushes at the edge of the puddle, shaking his head. “May I assist, ladies? It would appear that another Windham sisterhas fallen in.”

“I didn’t fall in,” sniffed Amelia, holding her arms out to rest a hand on each of Alastair’s shoulders. Much to Rosamund’s surprise, she sounded subdued and colorbrightened both her cheeks. “I saved my sister. Just as she saved Miss Shelby’s reputation.”

“Did she, now?” he asked in soothing tones. “Mother will be pleased to know it wasn’t all her fault.”

“Of course not, Alastair,” snapped Amelia, both hands still resting around his shoulders.

For her to have known who lurked in the garden, she must have come out with him. Had he been helping her find Rosamund? Interesting.

Alastair, Lady Termington’s son, grinned wolfishly in the face of Amelia’s scowl, but his touch was gentle as he apologized and caught her folded skirts and bare leg. Helifted her entirely, holding her in both arms as he swung her to shore and heldher a moment too long, leaving Amelia hauntingly silent.

“Sparks,” Rosamund murmured, and marveled the feeling in her stomach had settled. What a night it had been. Bemused she hadn’t noticed the tension between them before, she retreated down the path but lingered, torn between wishing to find Miss Shelby and concern for her sister.

Alastair remained pressed close. “If any more of you fall in, my sister will soon be threadbare.”

“Reconsider having mud pits to trap the unwary! Oh no, my shoe is left behind! Can you get it? No, hold me up!”

They rustled together.

“Oh, I’ve spotted your waistcoat!”

“I hear mud’s all the rage. Everyone’s doing it.”

Amelia giggled. “Alastair!”

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts.

The story opens with the romantic pairing from Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe, a couple already very much in love.

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z.

“They’ve arrived, My Lord,” Benjamin said, interrupting Lord and Lady Harrington’s kiss in the drawing room.

Lord Harrington’s scowl told more of his disappointment than pleasure in the upcoming Christmas festivities. Mercy looked up at her husband, hopeful he’d put away his grumpiness and at the very least enjoy their guests’ company.

“Oh, go on with your merrymaking,” he said, running his thumb across her cheek lovingly. “I have cottages to inspect, but I expect a continuation of this discussion when I return.” His devious smile spoke of more than just conversation. He gave her one last kiss on the cheek and squeezed her hand before leaving the room.

Mercy grinned as she watched her husband go and then she turned to the foyer, giddy with anticipation.

Read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Available in eBook and paperback.

 Meant to Be Press celebrates the release of Meant to Be…KISSED (Love Notes Book 2). This is the second collection of sweet of stories from Meant to Be Press authors. This heartwarming collection is themed around winter kisses. The two primary stories are historical romances, with a bonus contemporary flash fiction piece from Meant to Be Press’s newest author, M. M. Genet.

Meant to Be…KISSED is available as an ebook on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited.

Note: Meant to Be…MINE (Love Notes Book 1) ebook will be free December 1-5th

Learn more at http://meanttobepress.wordpress.com

Tea Time Tattle– First Experience (short story)

on a white wooden table red roses, cup of tea, heart made of lac

Put down your tea before you go any further! I don’t want anyone spitting out their drink in surprise. This post is also intended for readers over the age of 18.

The other day I saw a debate about Mr. Darcy’s sexual past. Oh, it wasn’t the first time I’ve seen the arguments. It’s always jarring to me because I read Pride and Prejudice nearly exclusively for ten years before trying Jane Austen Fan Fiction. I never once wondered about Darcy’s sex life. I read P&P for the first time at 17, just before I began dating the man who became my husband. The only real boyfriend I’ve ever had. My only real kiss. And I was the same for him. I’m sure you can guess that we were virgins too. However, I don’t think it was that which made me just never wonder about a fictional character’s past. I knew a large variety of people and was certainly aware that virginity until marriage in the 21st century is a rare thing. Throughout this decade-long embargo on any other books, I was a married adult and anything but celibate. I say all this to explain that I’m not a prude and don’t expect people to have no desires.

In the first JAFF I ever read, dealing with the wedding night scenario was the very first scene. I was surprised to read Darcy as a virgin. I was surprised it needed to be such an issue but I was not displeased. He had lots of good reasons and even admitted that it was never a very conscious decision. He didn’t take some religious vow of celibacy–which wannabe historians will tell you is a post-Victorian belief.

When I began writing JAFF, I chose to make every Darcy I’ve written be a virgin. It doesn’t always come up, but it does many times. The reasons are not always the same, but they are always rooted in logic, I think.  I thought about weighing in on the debate, but then I decided that the pen is always mightier than the sword. Why argue when I can write? So here it is. The wedding night that would have happened if Darcy had been like all the other men for the era and used all the arguments that I have seen over the years for what is in effect reverse slut-shaming; you’re not a sexy man if you haven’t had dozens of partners.


Elizabeth turned from her seat at the vanity when she heard her husband’s gentle knock. Husband! The word was still so new to her. Everything in the grand London house was unfamiliar to her but the person on the other side of the door. She bade him enter, her heart in her throat.

“Elizabeth,” Darcy said as he took in her layers of frothy white. “You look beautiful. I could never have imagined anything more perfect.”

He came to her and kissed her deeply. Elizabeth melted into his arms, willing and even a bit eager for what would happen next. Unexpectedly, Darcy pulled back.

“I must confess something to you.” He avoided her eyes as he flushed. “I have never been with a woman.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth said. “I have not been with a man. Surely we can figure it out. Many unintelligent people find proficiency in the bedroom if their numerous children are any testament.”

“I fear that you will be disappointed,” Darcy frowned. “You see, men are often educated with women so they know how to please their wives.”

Elizabeth furrowed her brow. “Who are these women they are with? I can think of no lady whether she loves her husband or not who would take comfort in knowing he bedded a dozen before her.”

“It is far more than a dozen,” Darcy sighed. “Men of my status can find willing partners each and every night of their lives. Sometimes more than one a night—or more than one at a time.”

Elizabeth’s cheeks flamed scarlet at the thought. “How do they find women so willing to do this? Any lady I have known understands the value of her virtue. I do not doubt the women exist, only that they could be so easily found. You speak as though they are available en masse.”

“They are,” Darcy shrugged. “Women live and work in a house with others with one man or woman presiding over them.”

“Work?”

“Making love requires exertion.”

“So they are paid for taking men to bed?”

“Did you not know of such things?”

“I did, of course,” Elizabeth acknowledged. “However, I did not know it was available without condemnation for men to freely partake of. You sound as though you are the only man in the world who has not done this.”

“I might be,” Darcy said. “All others and I do mean all—your father and uncles, your rector, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Bingley, even that toadying cousin of yours—would have visited a brothel. We cannot control ourselves. We have desires, and we cannot stop them. The women are available, and if we have any coin at all, then we will go there.”

Elizabeth sat in her chair again as a queasy feeling invaded her stomach. “Why have you not?”

“Because I hate people so much,” Darcy acknowledged. “Could you imagine a stranger asking me questions let alone touching me?” He shuddered.

Tears welled in Elizabeth’s eyes. “I had thought maybe for other reasons.”

“Did you think that I objected to the double standard between men and women?” He laughed. “My naïve little heart. Think of your sister. She was ruined but did anyone call Wickham names?”

They did, actually, Elizabeth mentally corrected. Lydia had been thoughtless and stupid, but Wickham was branded as one of the worst men to walk the Earth. Perhaps it was so only in Meryton? But then Fitzwilliam seemed so sure that every other man would have had numerous lovers.

“Perhaps you thought I objected to the risk of disease.”

“Disease?”

“Aye. There are terrible diseases amongst the sex workers. It spreads like wildfire, and there’s no cure for it. Husbands catch it in their youth then give it to their wives. Babes are born with it. The treatment can be worse than the ailment.”

“But you would not have risked that,” Elizabeth charged. “Who would be master of Pemberley if you were sick or mad or worst yet, died?”

“I’m afraid I was never so reasonable, my love. My elder cousin the Viscount surely is infected but it is no concern since Colonel Fitzwilliam may inherit should James perish first.”

“Colonel Fitzwilliam has been in the Regulars for over a decade! We are at war. There is no security that he may live. The Viscount has been very risky with his life.”

“It is only an earldom at stake. It can go to a distant cousin or descend into abeyance. I am not really sure.”

Elizabeth’s head began to pound. “But you will not risk this after we are married.” She licked her lips. “I mean, you said you did not want a stranger touching you, but perhaps you will learn what you have been missing and want it more often—you did make it sound as though one woman would be impossible to serve a man’s desires entirely and you said men are helpless to withstand the temptation. Please, Fitzwilliam! I do not wish to become ill, and you would not risk our future children!”

Darcy came and took Elizabeth’s hands in his. He pressed a kiss to each one before answering. “I cannot promise you any such thing, but you need not worry. After all, it is the same position every other wife finds herself in. You, too, might find comfort in the arms of a lover.”

She shrank back as though he struck her. “You doubt my fidelity and love for you?”

“Not at all,” Darcy stroked her cheek. “The pleasure of the bedroom has nothing to do with the heart. I know you love me as I love you but why should we limit our partners? I mean no disrespect by it. I am sure you understand.”

She did not understand it! Just saying it was the done thing did not suddenly make it appropriate in her mind! “Fitzwilliam, I am not that sort of woman. Surely you knew this before we married. I cannot be bidden to do things just because Society expects them to be so.”

“Then keep your standards and be unhappy,” he shrugged. “Your conscience does not trouble me. I am secure knowing I love you and can do what I want with my body. Your possessiveness only thrills me more.”

He would take pleasure in knowing that thoughts of him with another woman tormented her? The new weight of the wedding band on her finger now felt like a shackle. “Seek me first. I promise I will not refuse you.”

“There are times when I must be away. I cannot sit at the house all day with you. There are tenants to visit at the estate, my clubs in Town. We will be invited to house parties, and you may not always wish to go, such as when you are expecting or after the children are born.”

Elizabeth grew dizzy as Darcy spoke. He would take the wives of their friends? Or maybe the maids? The tenants? “Surely I am worrying for naught. You have not partaken of the flesh before. Why should I feel concern that you will do these things?”

“Because I am a man, Elizabeth,” Darcy said. “I am a man, and you are a woman, and this is the way things are. Now, enough talking.”

He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bed. She shivered in fear. Her maidenly instinct was to fear this moment. She had little to no preparation for the act itself. Now, she feared it for even more reasons. She supposed he had intended to be kind by telling her. Would she rather have heard it all now than find out later and be embarrassed and ashamed? She really could not say.

Above her, Darcy kissed her lips before sloppily going down her neck. His fingers trailed over her garments and plucked at odd places. Finally, he drew the closure to her robe open and let out a frustrated grunt when he discovered another layer. He began to lift her shift from the top only for it to remain pinned beneath her buttocks.

Elizabeth did not know what to do. Somehow, he must get his instrument into her body. How could that be when they were both fully clothed, and she laid stiff as a rod?

Next, Darcy pulled at her garments from her shoulders, attempting to slip them down. They also did not budge. He did not vocalize a desire that she should move and although she had dressed and undressed her whole life, it did not occur to her either. Finally, Darcy tore the thin fabric, splitting it down the middle. His fingers scratched at her body as he did so, ruining what would otherwise be a thrilling moment.

There was more pain to come, she told herself. That her chest now bled was of no concern. A part of her, however, had wished perhaps he had that training he spoke of. Darcy’s eyes flamed when he saw her body open to his inspection. His hands soon followed. He slipped them in various places—some of them drawing a pleasurable sigh from Elizabeth’s lips but he never lingered where her sensation was the strongest. He did not notice what touches she liked, and she never thought to tell him.

Likewise, the pressure of his touch varied. Sometimes it was too hard, almost bruising, and other times far too soft. As he circled her breasts, he seemed uninterested in the way her nipples hardened, and she was nearly lifting off the bed as that sensitive part of her body sought more of his hand.

His fingers trailed slower, tickling her thighs. A frisson of pleasure danced over her as he came near her sex but he was far more interested in her ankles. Soon, he nudged at her legs, and she let them fall open wide. He was still clothed. He undid a few buttons, and a gigantic member fell out. Elizabeth gulped.

Darcy tried to thrust into her core but could not enter. He persisted, however, and soon, he made his way in. Elizabeth felt ripped on the inside. She cried out in pain.

He grinned at her. “It feels amazing, does it not? I am happy to bring you pleasure too.”

He thought she liked this? She had known he had misunderstood her early in their acquaintance and that he did not have the social skills others did. However, nothing in their courtship could have prepared her for this. He was eloquent enough in his kisses and had always raised a feeling of yearning in her. She had looked forward to their wedding night and years of marriage. However, once he came into her room, it was as though she ceased existing as a person.

He continued to thrust into her, heedless of the tears streaming down her cheek. The pain had not abated. Each movement felt like rough sand irritating her skin. Finally, she felt some moisture but knew from the further stinging it would only be blood from her wounded parts. How did women do this for just anyone? Or was he inept because he had not been trained?

Darcy moved with rapidity and Elizabeth prayed the ordeal would soon be over. Suddenly, he withdrew from her and stroked himself with his hand. He let out a grunt as white fluid exploded from his member and Elizabeth found herself bathed in it.

Darcy looked down perplexed. “Next time, I will have to remember to stay inside you if we want to get you with child ever.”

Elizabeth nodded, confused more than ever by the entire experience. Darcy flopped on the bed and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I love you, Elizabeth.” He promptly fell asleep and began to snore.

For the remainder of their honeymoon, their encounters were the same. He approached her various times of day, and she did not refuse, as she had promised, even as she began to ache in earnest at all times. It took six or seven times for Darcy to remember to find completion in her body.

At last, their week at the seaside resort was over, and they journeyed to London. By the close of their first week as newlyweds, Elizabeth began to understand what Darcy had said. He was insatiable, but she was not the woman to teach him the bedroom arts. She could hardly tell where she wanted him to touch or what would feel good. It was as though her body was an alien thing to her. Fortunately, outside of their chamber, they were as devoted and happy as ever. Elizabeth was assured that if Darcy did seek further relief or education their marriage would not suffer. He was entirely correct, the bedroom had nothing to do with the heart.

A few weeks after they arrived in London, Elizabeth overheard two women at a soiree. One lady was in tears because her husband had come with his mistress. The other told her not to resent it and that she enjoyed what her husband had learned from the woman and a place called Sally’s.

That evening, before Darcy took her to their bed, Elizabeth brought up the subject. “Do you think I need teaching as a wife? In bed, I mean?”

“Surely you are adequate for now. It is I that should learn more. I feel like the boy at school who has finally learned to read and is insatiable for books.”

“Then your first complaint is now over? The thought of a stranger touching you no longer repulses you?”

Darcy puffed his chest out. “I could bear it for the pleasure that follows. I have always had many offers. I think I will take the next one that comes.”

“Why wait?” Elizabeth said. “I have heard of a place—Sally’s. You could go tonight?”

Darcy nodded. “After I finish here,” he said before thrusting into her.

A few minutes later, Darcy was asleep at her side. He roused after an hour or so of sleeping, his arousal digging into her. “I will go now,” he said. “I love you.”

Elizabeth smiled for she knew he did. What he went to learn was only out of love for her. She did not see him again for a week, but when he did return to her, it was the most glorious experience of her life. Suddenly, he knew where to touch and hold. He kissed her all over and thrilled her to the core. When they had finished, she lay panting and sweaty, eager for a renewal whenever Darcy recovered his strength.

Of course, he still had much to learn. He was a devoted student. Inexplicably, what he learned from one woman always worked on her. It was as if there was no difference whatsoever in the fact that she was a unique person. She also never wondered about his other partners, never felt inadequate, never compared herself to them or wondered if her husband found greater pleasure with them. She was always content to merely exist simply as his devoted wife and occasional play-thing. Elizabeth also never worried about any Darcy bastard children running around, it was not as though anyone needed to worry about people beneath them. They were practically mud on their boots and just as forgettable.

So it went for many years, and Elizabeth knew it was the key to their happiness in the bedroom. In time, she took a lover or two. The Colonel had always been dashing, after all. She did not even cry when the doctor told her Darcy and she both were infected, and it would hurt their children. She had safely born him an heir and a spare. She was uncertain who truly fathered the other three, but it was of no matter. She had been a good wife, discreet in her affairs. Of course, she had no choice but to have fewer partners than her husband since it was difficult to arrange no one seeing her comings and goings and servants were prone to gossip.

Many years later, on her eldest son’s birthday, Elizabeth smiled as she waved off her husband and son. They were going to Sally’s and maybe a few other places to give the Darcy heir a true education. Elizabeth knew her future daughters-in-law would thank her. Indeed, they would only entertain offers for their daughters from experienced gentlemen. When her daughters asked how she could allow her sons to go to a place which treated women so poorly, she told them of her wedding night and how without education a man just could not figure out how things worked. In this way, women—some women, at least—were the superior so really it was not abusive toward women. Indeed, allowing for so many partners was freeing. The daughters wisely nodded in agreement, even Chloe, the one who was born blind due to syphilis complications.


If you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek explanation of why I write virgin Darcys. The most basic point comes down to consideration for others and for himself. Also, there is quite the line between being an innocent and being stupid.

How Darcy Saved Christmas– Chapter One

how darcy saved christmas 1Earlier this year, I set a goal to write a Christmas story. It didn’t look like it was going to happen. I’ve moved twice this year! There have been a lot of family complications this fall. I was two months behind on Treasured! In fact, I had in my calendar to start this story on October 10th, after Treasured was supposed to be published. After I finally finished Treasured the other week, I told myself I had one week to write a short story or a novelette. I had already been inspired by How the Grinch Stole Christmas but thought I might have to scrap the idea. If I wasn’t close to being finished in a week then I’d have to save it for next year and move on to Mr. Darcy’s Compassion.

Well, my friends, let’s just say goals motivate me! I wrote almost this entire story in one week! Last week, I said my NaNoWriMo goal was only 500 words a day. There were a few days where I didn’t write much more than that. However, for the most part, I was happily writing a few thousand a day, stealing moments whenever I could, to finish this story. It felt great to just focus on a story and get it done without life complicating things! Oh, and it’s also novella length. I mentioned in a Facebook video (the ones I do with author friends Leenie Brown and Zoe Burton) that I wasn’t sure how long the story would be and if it didn’t make novella length then I wouldn’t push it. Between that and my time constraint, let me tell you there’s no padding to make this longer than necessary and at the same time, the story arc is small enough that it is well-resolved in a novella. There’s an art form to novella writing, folks!

Also, since I now have three different Christmas books, I’ll be starting a new series for them: Christmas with Jane. Once Upon a December and Mr. Darcy’s Miracle at Longbourn will be getting new covers!


Blurb: 

Some of the most loving hearts lay beneath a prickly exterior.

On a much-needed holiday with her favorite relations, Elizabeth Bennet is in search of Christmas cheer. Instead, she meets The Great Curmudgeon, or as the locals call him, Mr. Darcy.

Darcy hates any display of Christmas happiness. He didn’t always feel that way but is certain he will never welcome it again. Despite his family tradition of being the life-force behind the holiday in the area, he shuns it after a family tragedy.

Despite their first perceptions of each other, Darcy and Elizabeth cannot resist the pull of their hearts. Old and new friendships, however, collide to weave an insurmountable obstacle between the fledgling lovers. Will Darcy be able to see past his pain or will he forever miss out on the joy of true love?

This Christmas season, treat yourself to a story of forgiveness, the search for true joy and lasting peace, and a love that can eclipse bitterness and pain. Buy How Darcy Saved Christmas today!


Chapter One

Elizabeth Bennet shivered as she pulled her cloak tighter over her garments and rapidly walked down the streets of the small Derbyshire town of Lambton. She had accompanied her favorite aunt and uncle to the area for Christmas. Aunt Gardiner had grown up in Lambton and after twelve years of marriage was eager to show her husband the area. Elizabeth dearly loved her relations and enjoyed travelling so much that she almost did not regret they had not chosen a warmer month for the holiday.

Not only was the December air crisper in the Northern county and higher altitude, but the town of Lambton also had a somberness about it. Aunt Gardiner had said it was not like this while she lived here. Then, Christmas was a time for joy and festivities as the largest landowner, Mr. Darcy, relished the season. His wife, Lady Anne, had been the originator of many traditions for the area and although she died many years before, her husband continued the tradition. A few years ago, his son inherited. Slowly, the celebrations lost their joy and soon ceased altogether.

Elizabeth scowled as she thought of it. What kind of blockhead disapproved of Christmas? Aunt Gardiner had heard enough information about the new master of Pemberley to know that he was not an atheist. He did not object to the Nativity scene and always appeared in Church when in residence. No, Fitzwilliam Darcy simply hated any signs of happiness. How could a man with so many luxuries in the world and such favour think so meanly of a season meant to bring peace and joy to the hearts of all?

Shaking her head to dispel her thoughts, Elizabeth let out a breath. Smiling at the visible puff of air, she increased her speed. The cause of her errand was to create some jolliness in the rooms she shared with her relations at the inn. An estate as vast as Pemberley surely could not have eradicated all of its holly bushes. Always one to feel more familiar in nature than in stuffy rooms of gossips or strangers, Elizabeth took it upon herself to venture out. She soon found her query and happily began snipping at the leaves while serenading the area with Christmas songs.

“What do you think you are doing?” A loud, masculine voice boomed behind Elizabeth making her jump and drop her garden shears.

Whirling around to see who intruded upon her privacy, her breath caught as a giant of a man stood mere inches away and glared down at her. How had he approached so silently?

“Madam, from your lack of answer I must infer you are either mute or not intelligent enough to think at all and therefore answer me.”

Elizabeth turned red in anger. “Oh, I am thinking plenty! However, unlike some rude people, I see no need to utter every thought I have. Who are you to accost me?”

“Believe me. You will know if I mean to accost you.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes and audibly huffed. “So you are simply a natural at it? Congratulations.”

“That was meant as an apology.” The stranger stepped forward.

“And yet you still have said nothing close to one.”

“I am the master of this estate. Who do I have the “pleasure” of speaking with?”

Elizabeth looked the man up and down. Surely the great and fear-inspiring master did not stomp around his hundreds of acres in frigid temperatures and dressed as commonly as her uncle. The man might try to provoke her and instill fear, but she felt it was all false bravado. “Princess Charlotte, at your service.”

Affecting the behaviour of a spoiled princess, Elizabeth gave a nondifferential curtsy then turned. Stooping to pick up her dropped scissors, she had stood half-way up when a hand grasped hers.

“Who are you really?”

“Who are you?” Elizabeth spun once more to face him, holding the shears out in an accusatory manner.

“I am Fitzwilliam Darcy, and you are trespassing. Shall I call the magistrate?”

Elizabeth snorted. “His daughter is my aunt so I doubt he would fine me or send me to goal.”

“You are related to Mr. Fisher?”

“Not exactly,” Elizabeth smirked. Cutting one more bunch of leaves, Elizabeth dropped her shears in her basket and then stepped around the towering stranger. “Pardon me.”

“Where are you going?”

“I have finished my errand and do not find your company satisfying enough to remain.”

“I demand to know who you are.”

For a moment, Elizabeth considered telling him. She still doubted he was truly Mr. Darcy, but if he were at all serious about his threat in taking her to the magistrate, she would use any advantage she had. However, at the moment, he looked more amused than angry. It only infuriated her more and inflamed her stubbornness. Redoubling her commitment to anonymity, she silently marched on.

Elizabeth nearly expected the man to follow, but he did not. There, that was how you dealt with bullies. After such an encounter she could almost wish she would meet with this Mr. Darcy who banned Christmas and give him a piece of her mind.

Arriving at the inn, she greeted her aunt and uncle.

“Lizzy, where did you go?”

She lifted her basket of holly and evergreen clippings. “I went for a walk and couldn’t resist the greenery.”

Mrs. Gardiner frowned. “You have gardening shears in there. Do not pretend it was just a fortuitous opportunity and you found these already cut and ready in a basket.”

Elizabeth grinned. “Very well, I will not pretend. I left with the sole intention of finding things to enliven our rooms. I cannot stand for Christmas to be so dreary!”

“My parents’ house will have a few decorations.” Mrs. Gardiner sighed. “However, there will be no customary ball. It was quite the area tradition when I was a child. Then, the Darcys at Pemberley would host a yule log for everyone. Oh! It was the biggest log you have ever seen!”

Elizabeth smiled as her aunt’s eyes danced with merriment at the fond memories.

“Lady Anne would personally ladle the nog to one and all. She even danced all the jigs. No one was too low to be her partner.” Elizabeth’s aunt sighed. “Her death was such a loss to the town. Poor Mr. Darcy was devastated.”

“Well, his son is the most miserly man I have ever heard of,” Elizabeth said as she sat in a chair before popping a biscuit in her mouth. She washed it down with tea then added, “I met his surly gardener. He was not terribly bright and had awful manners, but I think working for such a sour man would make anyone miserable.”

“Do you mean that you walked all the way to Pemberley?” Mr. Gardiner asked in surprise.

“I took perverse enjoyment in taking my cuttings from the Great Curmudgeon.”

“The Great what—” Mr. Gardiner laughed. “Oh, Lizzy. You will have to mind your tongue sometime.”

“Why should I?”

Her aunt and uncle shared a look. “It is one thing with us, my dear,” Mrs. Gardiner said gently, “but quite another to ridicule Mr. Darcy before anyone. Despite his policies regarding Christmas, he is greatly respected and esteemed.”

Elizabeth raised her brows. “I suppose I should wait and listen to testimony about him.”

“I think we can do better than that,” Mrs. Gardiner bubbled with pride. “He is to dine with my father this afternoon, and we are also invited.”

Elizabeth kept her unwelcome thoughts to herself, and the conversation turned to other things. The three spent the remainder of the morning decorating their rooms before determining to experience the shops.

Once walking along the streets of Lambton, Elizabeth’s good humour returned. She greatly enjoyed meeting new acquaintances, and her aunt had many old friends to introduce to her niece. The stores were not very different from any other market town, but Elizabeth bought a few trinkets for her family. It shocked her that there were no Christmas displays. Who was Mr. Darcy to influence an entire town on how to practice a sacred holiday?

Toward the end of the square, Elizabeth saw several large red bows hanging on a shop’s windows and a festive wreath on the door. Curious, she walked ahead of her aunt and uncle. There was someone in this town who celebrated Christmas?

Looking up, she saw a sign: Wickham & Son, Solicitors. Peeking in the window, Elizabeth saw more displays of greenery inside the lobby for clients.

“May I be of service, Miss?” a polite voice came from over Elizabeth’s shoulder.

She turned and beheld the most handsome face she had ever seen. Air left her lungs on a whoosh. “Oh.” Was all she could manage to say.

“Forgive me if I startled you.” The young man wore a friendly smile. “Do you have need of our services?”

“Our?”

“George Wickham, at your service.”

He held out a hand and Elizabeth took it, expecting a shake. However, Mr. Wickham curved his fingers and bowed over her hand. Elizabeth blushed and looked around for her relations. He had not kissed it, that would have been far too bold for having just met, but as he peered into her eyes, she believed he must be as instantly smitten as she.

“No,” Elizabeth smiled. Feeling bold by his evident admiration of her brightened face, she continued, “I have no need of a lawyer. I was admiring your Christmas decorations.”

“Then you must come in rather than stand in the cold.” Mr. Wickham glanced around. “Are those your chaperones?” He pointed toward the Gardiners who slowly approached.

“Indeed. However, I could not impose on your place of business.”

Wickham shrugged. “We have no appointments for the remainder of the day.” He pulled his watch out. “Indeed, it is near our tea time.”

“Who is this ‘our’ you keep mentioning?” Elizabeth asked with a coy smile.

Wickham pointed to the sign. “Ah, so you have a son,” she teased.

Wickham laughed. “Indeed, no I am far too young to have a son.” At Elizabeth’s raised brow, he added, “Certainly too young to have a son who could practice law. I fear I must need spectacles for I had thought I rather looked my age. Have I missed graying hairs or age spots?”

“No,” Elizabeth laughed. “I should not have teased so, now you will think that I am very ill-mannered.”

“I shall not,” he said, smiling down at her. “I never feel as comfortable with friends as when they can tease and laugh. There is far too much seriousness in my life—around here, at least.”

Elizabeth was about to say she had noticed the mood of the town when her aunt and uncle approached and asked to be introduced. Wickham invited them into the shop. Surprisingly, Mrs. Gardiner accepted the offer of a warm fire and tea. Elizabeth ought to have known her aunt was not as hardy as herself.

Mr. Wickham brought them to a back sitting room, bedecked in Christmas splendor. An older gentleman sat in a comfortable chair nearest the fire. His hair was white and his hands twisted with arthritis.

“George, is that you?”

“It is, Father, and I have brought new friends. Or rather, old. I am much mistaken if Mrs. Gardiner is not our long-lost Miss Fisher.”

“Oliver’s daughter?”

“The very one,” Mrs. Gardiner gushed before approaching the chair with a smile.

“Well, look at you! Quite the fine lady now with a respectable looking husband.” Mr. Wickham peered at Elizabeth. “I did not think you had left us long ago enough to have a daughter of such an age.”

“Pray, forgive me for not offering introductions,” George hastened to say. “Miss Fisher has married a Mr. Gardiner who is an excellent merchant in London. Miss Bennet is his niece.”

“We left our four children in the care of my sister,” Mr. Gardiner informed.

“Do you also live in London?” George asked Elizabeth as they all sat down to tea. The others began their own conversation.

“No, my father’s estate is in Hertfordshire.”

“I confess when hearing your uncle was in trade, I did not expect you to come from an estate.”

“My mother’s father was a solicitor in a market town around the same size as Lambton. I am not quite sure how she attracted the attention of my father, but somehow they married. My Uncle Gardiner chose not to practice law. Instead, the business went to the husband of his other sister.”

“It must have meant very much to your grandfather to have someone to carry on his business.”

Elizabeth shrugged. “I really am not sure. He died before I was old enough to remember. You are fortunate to have your father’s practice.”

George’s grip on his teacup tightened just a bit. “He actually re-opened the practice for me. You see, he had been Mr. Darcy’s steward. Not the current one—he fired my father for no reason and gave him only a small pension. My father cared nothing for himself. No, all his cares were for me.” He sighed and stirred his tea a moment before returning his eyes to Elizabeth. “I have never seen my father as broken down as the day I had to inform him that his master’s son would not give me the living I had been promised. He used all his money so I might become a lawyer. He lived on minimal resources building up the business as I studied. I owe him everything.”

Elizabeth’s heart seized to hear such a story. She had said she would wait to listen to what others would say of Mr. Darcy and this was precisely the proof she meant. Look at how he treated a trusted servant! There was something very wrong with Fitzwilliam Darcy’s soul.

Wisdom Wednesday– Happiness

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I think this is one of the most important life lessons out there. If you fill your mind with regrets of the past and/or with anxiety of the future then you miss out on this moment. I doubt there have ever been any truly perfect moments on Earth. If all you focus on is the imperfections of life, then you will never feel content or happy. People search their whole lives for happiness. They can make some really awful choices looking for it. It’s right in front of you all along. It’s not found with a different partner or career or location. Those things might enhance it, but you can also change all those things and still be miserable if you’re choosing to be miserable. Look for happiness in every day. Be the reason for someone else’s happiness. It’s all about mindset.

Motivational Monday– Slow Progress

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A lot of writers spend November manically trying to write 50,000 words in a month for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). It’s really not so unattainable for the average full-time writer. It averages out to 1667 words a day, which I can do in about an hour. As long as I know what I’m writing… And the hardest part is always the consistency–doing it every day. If you miss a day, then you’re playing catch up and trying to add to it. Miss more than one and it’s even harder etc.

November is a hard month for me. The first time I tried NaNo was in 2014. I had two published stories (well, one was on pre-order). I had completed several other stories before but had never tried to do an entire novel in one month. I got sooo close! If memory serves, I got to 45,000 words and had one day left. I could have made it. However, I was moving literally the next day and my kids–only 4 and 1 at the time–needed a return to normalcy. My son has Autism Spectrum Disorder the fall wreaks havoc on his routine. He shifts from waking up at 6 am to waking up at 5 am. He just turned 8 and by now, I have accepted this. In 2014, I was far less prepared to accept the reality of more 5 am (or earlier) wakeups.

I’m mentioning my history with NaNo because the other day I saw a Facebook status which upset me. It was a memory of one of my status from 2014. I was working on a story in which Darcy was to inherit Longbourn and Lady Catherine’s rector. Essentially, he was Mr. Collins. How would Elizabeth react? About 20,000 words into it, I realized this should just be an original story. I had already started writing the story before November began, so I realized that within a few days of the month. I spent the remainder of the month working on that story and changed all the names and tried to make it not like Pride and Prejudice. Then November ended and I froze. The almost completed manuscript is still on my hard drive.

I didn’t stop there though. I did turn my attention to other things but for the last four years, I have dusted off that manuscript every few months. I’ve sent it to beta readers and asked if it should really be an original. I’ve even thought that I could do both–make an original and keep the premise of Darcy in Collins’ place and write two different stories. In 2016, I came up with a series theme focusing on one real-life event from the Regency era per book. I had a few other non-JAFF stories that would work perfectly in the series. However, I had the most words on this story and it would have been the last one in the series. So I started on what was supposed to be Book One. Last year, I realized that book is really a prequel and they don’t do well until the rest of the series is out. I abandoned that story. Earlier this year, I realized that I should just round out the books and make it the full Regency. I started on the new Book One of the series and gave everything new titles. The Baronet’s Heart is now Tempting Scandal. I began posting but then got caught up with other things.

Can you see why I’m disappointed in myself? So much start and stop. So little progress. But is it really? I have learned a lot about myself, writing, my goals and so much more during each of these stops.

Oh, there’s more that I could be disappointed about. Things never go according to plan. I’m working on 2019 goals right now and know I won’t reach half of them. Sigh. However, this pic has reminded me that forward is forward and looking back at my supposed “failings” doesn’t help a thing!

When is a time you had to focus on just moving forward and not worrying about the timing? Or is there something in your life right now that this could apply to? Oh, and in case you were curious, my goal this November is to write at least 500 words every day! I did miss one, but instead of despairing I just said, “The whole point is to learn to do better and be more consistent. I will make mistakes at the beginning, but hopefully, by the end of the month I will be doing better.” That’s MAJOR progress for me, a perfectionist in recovery!