I’ve enjoyed Jason Aldean’s You Make it Easy since first hearing it. While I was trying to find a song for this week that spoke to the themes in Mr. Darcy’s Compassion and it was an easy choice. However, I had never seen the official music video.
I was blown away. It’s actually three parts and you *have* to watch all three to get it. At one point, I thought the story in the video might be too sad to share. The song does have a bit of a bluesy tune, after all. I kept watching, though, and it was so worth it. I was crying by the end. It’s beautiful.
Like a rainy Sunday morning makes me want to stay in bed Twisted up all day long You’re my inspiration, girl you take me places Put the words right into these songs
Stealing kisses under cover, babe See forever when I see your face And I swear God made you for me
You make it easy Lovin’ up on you Make it easy With every little thing you do You’re my sunshine in the darkest days My better half, my saving grace You make me who I wanna be You make it easy
You took all my rough around the edges Never let it ruffle up your feathers, angel Yeah I’m down for life, you got me wrapped around your finger And I like it just in case you can’t tell
You make it easy Lovin’ up on you Make it easy With every little thing you do You’re my sunshine in the darkest days My better half, my saving grace You make me who I wanna be You make it easy
Stealing kisses under cover, babe See forever when I see your face And I swear God made you for me
You make it easy Lovin’ up on you Make it easy With every little thing you do You’re my sunshine in the darkest days My better half, my saving grace You make me who I wanna be You make it easy You make it easy
I wasn’t prepared for that plot twist. Were you? I love it though. The song specifically addresses a girl, but I think after watching the videos it’s just as easy to hear the song could be from the woman’s perspective and that despite the challenges in their relationship, loving him is easy. I think it suits Mr. Darcy’s Compassion very well and the hopeless romantic in me loves the theme of enduring love!
I’m a BUSY lady. I write for my full time income that pays my bills and feeds my kids. I have two special needs kids that like to wake up before the rooster crows. I also homeschool them. But this isn’t about me being a super-woman. This is about me being average. All the cooking, cleaning, working, caring for everyone. Heavens, it’s winter and if I have to wipe one more nose because my 8 year old can’t figure out what a tissue is for then I might scream. You other women know what I’m talking about! And in the approximate hour I have left to myself in a week, I need to unwind and treat myself to some Romance.
I want my stories and I need them to be quick, satisfying reads. The problem is, it’s often hard to find what I’m looking for. I love Historical Romance. From Medieval chainmail to the Scottish Highlander to the Regency duke to the Wild West, my perfect hero requires a visit to the past. Well, this blog is Stories from the Past, after all! I’ve decided to gather short reads (under 40,000 words or 200 pages) from the top 100 Hot New Releases for Historical Romance category on Amazon. In the future, I might break these into subgenre categories.
Sometimes the most loving heart lies 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. In defiance of Pemberley tradition for 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!
Together they can conquer anything…and their enemies know it.
Just as all seems well in Will Darcy’s life, old troubles reemerge. Now, he may have to choose between following his heart and keeping his beloved safe.
Elizabeth Bennet has waited five years to marry Will and is determined to see them to the altar. Confident their love will prevail, she bears their trials with patience and cleverness.
The final book in the Loving Elizabeth Series, Treasured is a dramatic conclusion to Will and Elizabeth’s saga. If you like love stories with the couple fighting outside forces, a knight in shining armor, and spirited heroines buy today!
He wished to please her by tolerating her mother. He hadn’t expected to find his heart so entangled in her family.
In an attempt to right a wrong caused by his dog, Fitzwilliam Darcy extends an invitation for the Bennet family to stay at his home. He is confident he can tolerate Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters for two weeks if it will please Elizabeth and help convince her to marry him. After all, he is determined to delight Mrs. Bennet by marrying her daughter.
As he expects, Mrs. Bennet and her daughters bring laughter and loudness to his home and cause some disturbance to his life. Unexpectedly, he discovers that inviting Mrs. Bennet and her daughters to Darcy House just might be the best decision he has ever made, for his life and his heart will be forever changed.
Delighting Mrs. Bennet is the second installment in Leenie Brown’s Pride and Prejudice variation series Marrying Elizabeth. If you like well-written, sweet romance where the hero and heroine not only grow in their love for each other but also in their understanding of other family members, then you’ll enjoy this story about discovering that even the most trying relations are not so very trying when seen through the eyes of love.
So, put the kettle on, grab your copy of Delighting Mrs. Bennet, and join Darcy and Elizabeth on the second leg of their journey to happily ever after as they learn to see things from a different point of view.
An instant attraction. An epic snowstorm. A wedding day in peril.
Before one snowy day on a London street, Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been in love. However, shortly after meeting the tantalizing Elizabeth Bennet, he knows his heart will no longer be his own.
Elizabeth Bennet finds she is powerless to resist her attraction to the handsome and wealthy gentleman she has met and, in very short order, falls madly and deeply in love with him.
When the time comes for Elizabeth to leave London, Darcy follows her, intent upon continuing to prove his love for her. Elizabeth is happy to have his attentions, but she worries he will not be able to look past her background or abide her mother.
As it turns out, Elizabeth’s mother is not the only mother to fear in Hertfordshire, for it is Mother Nature who poses the greatest threat.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Darcy! is JAFF you don’t want to miss. If you like besotted heroes, strong heroines, and sweet romance, you’ll love Zoe Burton’s second Christmas novella. Purchase Merry Christmas, Mr. Darcy! today.
Whether pushed forward by a rumble of thunder, revealed when the morning mist lifts, or etched like a frosty reminder of beauty in the cold heart of winter, love will find her home in the hearts of each of the couples in these three sweet Regency romance half-hour reads.
Thunder (A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novelette)
Fitzwilliam Darcy is out for a ride when a distant rumble of thunder forces him to seek shelter from the coming storm. What he finds when he steps inside his father’s cottage is so much more than merely a refuge.
Morning Mist (A Sense and Sensibility Variation Novelette)
To Marianne Dashwood, there is nothing more refreshing in the entire world than a walk in the morning mist. She relishes these rambles where she can allow her imagination to run free. However, when she comes upon a handsome stranger, she discovers that her daydreams cannot compare to the real enchantment of love.
Frosted Windowpanes (A Touches of Austen Novelette)
In an attempt to distance himself from the pain of rejection, Patrick Mullins left Ashmore Hall four years ago. Now, just before Christmas, he has returned, brought home by the deaths of both his mother and brother. However, the painful memories that he finds upon his arrival threaten to drive him away once more until the determination of the lady he loves proves to him that just like the frost brings beauty to the coldness of winter, beauty can rise out of sorrow.
The three stories in Nature’s Fury and Delights: Thunder, Mist, and Frost showcase Leenie Brown’s ability to craft Austen-inspired and original tales that transport a reader to a different time and a different place where the characters come alive and the romance is always sweet. If you have half an hour to spend wrapped up in the first blushes or the warm renewal of love, grab your copy of Nature’s Fury and Delights: Thunder, Mist, and Frost and settle in for a lovely trea
Sometimes, overcoming the past can be as challenging as surviving the present.
Mary Crawford, vivacious, beautiful, and adored by many gentlemen, has a secret. Her confidence is a façade, and while she may welcome one and all, she trusts few.
Gabriel Durward, an enterprising and wealthy tradesman, prizes integrity. Known for his shrewd business dealings, he is one gentleman that few would dare to cross.
Mary has never met a gentleman quite like Gabe. He seems impervious to her usual ploys, never prevaricates or flaunts himself as so many others have, and even though he knows her faults, he still chooses her without any need to be persuaded to do so. It is enough for Mary to begin to open her heart.
However, not everyone appreciates Gabe’s character as much as Mary does, and some of those individuals will go to great lengths to see him destroyed. When nefarious plans are put into action, Mary’s fledgling trust will be tested, and fear will raise its ugly head, tempting her to retreat. Will Gabe be able to survive the onslaught and finally prove to Mary that she can trust him to protect her heart with his very life?
Mary: To Protect Her Heart is the third episode in Leenie Brown’s Other Pens, Mansfield Park Series of books. If you like well-written stories of sweet transformation with swoon-worthy, gallant heroes and strong yet vulnerable heroines, then you will enjoy this story about overcoming the past and learning to trust.
So, put the kettle on, grab your copy of Mary: To Protect Her Heart, and let Gabe and Mary’s story guide you through rough seas into the welcoming safe haven of deep, enduring love.
When poor orphan Ava Smith comes face to face with a girl who looks exactly like her, she is certain she has seen a ghost! But, Lady Emily Fairfax, is no ghost and is sure that she and Ava must be long lost twins. Despite her better judgement, Ava allows Emily to convince her to swap lives for a month, in order for Ava to scupper Emily’s engagement to a cold-hearted, brute of a man. Imagine Ava’s surprise when Emily’s betrothed turns out to be none other than her unrequited crush, the Duke of Kilbride!
Raff Alexander Hamilton, the Sixth Duke of Kilbride, knows that he must do his duty to the line by marrying and procuring an heir. Love was never in the equation in his search for a bride. All that he required was a lady who was well-bred, quiet and biddable—and he thought that he had found just what he was looking for in Lady Emily Fairfax. Imagine his surprise, when overnight, his betrothed goes from meek and compliant to outspoken, alluring, and decidedly unimpressed with him.
As Raff battles to woo his bride to be, Ava must navigate the sumptuous world of Regency London, while trying desperately not to fall in love – no matter how much her heart wants it.
Christi Caldwell’s brand-new Regency book, “A Lady’s Guide to a Gentleman’s Heart” is sure to fill your heart with cheer and warmth this winter season! Don’t miss out on the long-awaited second book in The Heart of a Scandal series!!
Honor demands he give her up- Heath Whitworth, Marquess of Mulgrave and heir to a dukedom, is honorable to his handsome bones. When his mother insists he spend the holidays dancing attendance on Lady Emilia Aberdeen, he has no choice but to do the gentlemanly thing. For years, Heath has harbored feelings for the lady, but he knows exactly why his best friend jilted Emilia years ago, and that secret makes a happily ever after for Heath and Emilia an impossibility.
Love demands she follow her heart- Heartbroken after the man she loved ended their betrothal, Lady Emilia Aberdeen, is quite content to live a spinster’s life penning an anonymous column that offers guidance to young ladies. Except, the more she is thrown into Lord Mulgrave’s company, the more she sees that the proper, always-aloof gentleman is also charming, clever, and inconveniently attractive. Emilia discovers maybe it is possible to love again but with secrets between them, Heath will face his greatest challenge yet: loving Emilia Aberdeen or letting her go.
Other Books in The Heart of a Scandal series: Prequel Novella: In Need of a Knight Book 1: Schooling the Duke Book 2: A Lady’s Guide to a Gentleman’s Heart
Widowed clan chief Connor MacCallen prays fervently for a loving wife and children, as well as peace for his clan. As blessed as they are with abundant crops and cattle, they are threatened by the generations’ old feud with the Randalls. Connor must find a way to stop the feud from turning into war.
Ostracized at the age of nine as the daughter of a drunkard and thief, Onnleigh has lived a lonely existence. With no friends and no hope of having a family of her own, she has resigned herself to a bleak future. Until one day when one of her clansmen starts to visit. She learns too late that he is neither a man of honor nor integrity, nor one who should be trusted.
Connor doesn’t put any faith in wishing wells, fairies or ghosts. But to appease his grandminny, he makes a very special wish: for a loving wife, children, and peace for the MacCallens.
When Onnleigh overhears Connor’s wish, she makes the most difficult decision of her life. As poor as a church mouse and uneducated, she can’t give him peace. But there is one thing she can give him.
Will Connor be able to stop the violence before it destroys all that he values? Will he find someone to love again? And will Onnleigh ever find a place to call home?
Christopher Worth, the Duke of Carlyle, has a carefully cultivated reputation of ‘respectability’ but he possesses a dark, lustful heart which he reins in rather well. Except someone is out to reveal him as a wicked rogue in the tongue in cheek articles written about him by a notorious gossip columnist. Determined to unmask this meddler in his life, he finds his heart shockingly captivated by Miss Pippa Cavanaugh.
The hopes of marriage or the charming attractiveness of the Duke of Carlyle didn’t drive Pippa to pursue the most elusive catch of the season, she was out to avenge her dear friend whose heart had been callously injured. Pippa desires to reveal to society that their perfect duke is a wicked, unprincipled seducer. The last thing she expects is for the dratted man to turn the tables on her, engaging her in a dance of wits, soul stealing kisses, and unexpected, sensual adventures. Soon she must decide if he is her path to ruin or her promise of a happy ending.
Widow Abigail Hembree’s entire world has been the Wigg School and Foundling Home. She and her precious children have found a home there, safe from the evils of men, as she taught and nurtured the orphans who shared their lives. But Madam Wigg has made her an offer she can’t refuse, and it comes with a terrifying stipulation: become a mail-order bride—put her future in a man’s hands once more—and she’ll be able to have her own school.
A year ago, Matthias Blake lay bleeding to death in the dirt outside of Black Aces, Montana, and came to a realization: more than anything, he wanted a wife and children. Now that he’s recovered and built his business into a success, a mail-order bride could take care of both of those dreams. But he didn’t plan on a wife who has a good reason to be afraid of men, or a son who wants nothing to do with Matthias’s beloved business.
When matters conspire—in the form of the mysterious Mr. King, who owns most of the town—to keep Abigail from opening her school, she is dangerously close to having to give up her dream. And while Matthias knows he’s willing to change his own dream to save hers, it all relies on Abigail. Can she learn to trust her new husband, or will the ghosts of her past overcome whatever chance she and Matthias have at a happily ever after?
Can two wounded hearts find the courage to love again? Find out in this must-read winter romance from best-selling author Jillian Eaton!
As snow falls outside the manor… After being rebuffed by her betrothed, Cadence flees to her brother-in-law’s remote estate in the English countryside to escape the humiliation of getting left at the altar. She intends to spend the winter locked away in her room with chocolate. Fortunately for her, the Duke of Colebrook has other ideas… Things are heating up inside of it… Renowned throughout London for his long string of lovers, Justin Dearborn, Duke of Colebrook, isn’t looking for a wife. Having been spurned once, he has no intention of putting his heart on the line a second time. Until one passionate kiss with Cadence leaves them both yearning for more… Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy The Winter Duke, the first novella in a brand new series readers are calling “FUNNY, STEAMY, and HEAD-OVER-HEELS ROMANTIC!”
Beulah Wigg thinks her life is already as good as it’s going to get. An orphan, she teaches at the foundling home where she grew up, and she loves the challenge. When she finds out she has to leave the only home she’s ever known and marry so she can start a school of her own, she worries that she is not someone who should be married. She randomly chooses a man to correspond with and agrees to marry him immediately.
When Jack McClain finds out his mother has requested a mail-order bride for him, he’s not sure if he should be relieved the problem has been taken out of his hands, or upset with her for forcing him to marry. As soon as he realizes the beautiful Beulah will be his bride, he decides to be happy and make the most of it. Will the two of them be able to compromise to the point where they’re both content? Or will they spend the rest of their lives in an unhappy marriage?
This book, the second in the alphabet bride series, is directly related to Orlan Orphans, Seven Sisters, Seven Sons, and the McClains.
After five long years trapped in the country, newly widowed Nina Granville, Duchess of Exeter, has returned to town to start over. But it was here she committed an indiscretion—one stolen night of pleasure—that would threaten all she holds dear if revealed.
Byron always loved Nina from afar—until the house party that turned his world upside down. Guilt saw him flee England’s shores, and Nina wed to a man old enough to be her grandfather, but now the handsome rogue is back…and ready to claim what is his.
Yet Nina has kept a secret from Byron, one that could threaten their sizzling attraction and sever their longstanding friendship forever. With Byron’s brother determined to reveal the truth, Nina must use her power in the ton to ensure her secret is kept safe. Even at the expense of love…
Your favorite blood-and-guts battle lord returns for a short holiday tale!
Jax de Velt is the knight they call The Dark Lord. After years of barbaric conquest across England, Scotland, Wales, and France, he finds himself six months into a marriage with a woman he has learned to love. The marriage is a happy one, but every day is a struggle as Jax learns to navigate a world where generosity and forgiveness are the norm. But one thing he hasn’t learned – the concept of human kindness and the warmth of the Christmas spirit.
In a brief happenstance with a peasant family, Jax comes to understand what, exactly, true bravery and kindness is.
The Dark Lord finds his Christmas heart.
Note: This is a short story and an extended epilogue to The Dark Lord. Enjoy!
He likes her. She hates him. The puppy loves them both.
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet get off to a rocky start. Can three-month-old Scottish sheepdog, Henry, herd two stubborn individuals together long enough to realize they are the perfect partners for a lifetime?
Join in the frustration and fun when Mr. Darcy is forced to retrieve his errant puppy daily as Henry scampers from Netherfield Park to Elizabeth’s home of Longbourn. Told from her point of view, when she repeatedly spies haughty Mr. Darcy humbly showing affection to the puppy, Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge that first impressions might not always be accurate. Danger lurks, causing them to work together until Henry is safe.
Is Mr. Darcy’s bark worse than his bite? Will Elizabeth remain as stubborn as a dog with a bone? This 20,000-word novella is a blend of cranky personalities, blooming affection, and wagging puppy tails. Enjoy this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—where it truly is a dog’s life.
Lady Phoebe has spent two Seasons looking for the man who will steal her heart. Like the other members of her family, she wants love in her marriage, not the usual connections and wealth. While walking her energy off one morning as her twin sister pours over dress plates, Phoebe sees a man rescue a horse from its abusive owner. She is stunned when she realizes the rescuer is the Duke of St. Albans, better known as The Cold Duke.
Morgan, the Duke of St. Albans, is aware of his reputation as The Cold Duke and is not troubled by it. He was raised to keep his emotions in check and plans to select a suitable young lady this Season to fill the position of the Duchess of St. Albans. He has no desire for a love match that can only result in messy entanglements. His heartless reputation has served him well until Lady Phoebe, a young woman he has admired in the past, witnesses a rare moment of tender compassion.
Now that Lady Phoebe has seen beneath his icy veneer, will The Cold Duke acknowledge the passionate emotions she’s stirred or will he pursue a convenient marriage with a more suitable young woman?
The Duke of Raventon has sworn to never reveal his entire heart and soul to anyone. He has known loss and pain and failure.So much so, that the only way he can make up for the past is in saving everyone he can. When the wild, beautiful Highland lass shows up on his doorstep, he can’t turn her away. More so, he will do whatever it takes to ensure her safety and happiness. Even if it means choosing her for his bride. But when his soul longs to know hers and his heart dares to yield, he must choose between all he has ever known as the most mysterious duke in all of Europe or a final chance at love.
A Fiercely Determined Highland Lady:
Lady Diana is fleeing her murderous brother and seeking her freedom. Only one man can help her. The mysterious Duke of Raventon. But he is a dark and ominous figure, his name whispered to her on the death bed of her aunt. Still, Diana has no choice but to go to London, knock upon his door, and meet the devil himself. As her aunt promised, the enigmatic duke agrees to keep her safe. She knows she can trust him with her life but when sparks fly, can she trust him with her heart?
Join the MacKinnon clan for a magical reunion, bringing together old friends and new for a Yuletide never to be forgotten.
Malcom MacKinnon has been gone from Chreagach Mhor for more than ten years. He’s never met the youngest MacKinnon, but while he’s looking forward to their first meeting, Alexander Ailbeart MacKinnon isn’t quite as enthusiastic to meet the brother who, in his eyes, abandoned their clan. Having received word Malcom and his new wife are on the way, he’s on his heels now, making sure their home is safeguarded from forces that threaten his family’s joy. Will the brothers finally come together after so long?
This short story can be read as a stand-alone but will make more sense if read after reading THE KING’S FAVORITE in the Daughters of Avalon series.
She’s stealing from the past. He’s guarding his future. Will a modern woman’s mission kindle hot Viking passions?
Chicago, 2018. Rachel will do anything to secure her mother’s kidney transplant. She just never thought her cash-rich solution would come from traveling back in time to a world of Vikings. As she pockets valuable jewelry from the past to pay for her mother’s future, she’s stopped in her tracks by a stunning Nordic warrior…
Norway, 874. Kolbjorn longs for his father’s approval. Born a bastard, the Viking rejoices when his father promises to accept him… if he successfully safeguards a cache of valuable gemstones. But when a glowing goddess appears out of thin air to steal the jewels, his heart stands in the way of his sword.
As Rachel gets closer to raising the funds, Kolbjorn fears he’ll never capture the beautiful thief. But neither expect the massive snowstorm that forces them together for the night.
Will Rachel defy the fierce warrior or will her mission of mercy submit to primitive passions?
The Jewel of Time is the second book in the steamy Called by a Viking time-travel romance series. If you like alpha Vikings, resourceful heroines, and sizzling chemistry that crosses a millennium, then you’ll love Mariah Stone’s blisteringly hot adventure.
Buy The Jewel of Time to get up close and personal with a Nordic warrior today!
This collection of eight full novellas presents some very different heroes and heroines, but the common theme is that they all find love, despite trials and tribulations along the way, in some way related to attending a Christmas Ball, in the area surrounding the town of Upper Nettlefold. ***** FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED *****
The stories in this collection, because they all happen in Upper Nettlefold, have things which happen, that influence the other stories. So the order in which they are presented here aligns with the timeline in which events in the stories happen (although many are in parallel). Read through this collection in order, and you will find that each story builds on the ones before, weaving the magic of community and interconnection between characters. There is also a map of Upper Nettlefold to help you visualise everything as you read. Although each story can stand alone, we’re sure that you’ll love finding the linkages as you go.
This is our second visit to Upper Nettlefold, but it won’t be our last. (Our first was the collection ‘Love, One Regency Summer’ which will only be available for a limited time, so, if you like these stories, you’ll want to grab it before its gone!) You may see other collections based here, or you may see individual books from the various authors, but we will keep expanding the stories about the people you’ll meet in this collection.
We have also each given you a short preview of another of our books.
This collection includes:
To Dance with the Dangerous Duke by Arietta Richmond A Duke sworn never to love again, a Lady trapped by one past mistake, a Christmas Ball, a blackmailing cad, an impossible choice, a last minute reprieve, a miraculous love.
Merry Christmas My Love by Rose Pearson A Lady whose heart is broken, an Earl whose life needs to change, an accidental meeting, the interference of well-meaning friends, a confrontation, a new love that heals old hurts.
>Miss Modesty’s Mistletoe by Grace Austen An Earl with a scandalous reputation, a young woman whose parents hope to see marry a respectable man, a not so accidental meeting, a dramatic rescue on the way to the Ball, a love long held declared.<
The Compromised Lady’s Christmas Wish by Regina Darcy A Lady deceived, abandoned and robbed, a gentleman rescuer who has lost all that he loves, a murderer unveiled, a love that restores two reputations and heals broken hearts.
A Christmas Secret by Kelly Anne Bruce A widow whose days are lonely, even surrounded by family, a military man who brings news of her husband’s last days, and unexpected attraction, an identity revealed, a new love for Christmas.
The Earl’s Christmas Love by Sophia Wilson A widowed Earl, avoiding society, a Lady who hopes for love, a past acquaintance with designs on the Earl, a trap set and sprung, a misunderstanding resolved, a love saved from despair.
Miss Fitzwilliam’s Christmas Redemption by Lydia Pembroke A young woman, bitter about her own bad choices, and a love lost, a change in circumstances, a charitable action which leads to a meeting with a man of the merchant class, a love that redeems.
The Christmas Fortune by Isabella Thorne A Knight who hopes to marry, a Lady whose place in society is newly restored, and threatened by past scandal, the villain who could ruin her, a plan to trap a wrongdoer, a love saved by royalty.
Welcome to a very special de Russe Christmas, on a night when an angel walks the earth…
Join the House of de Russe for a special reunion at Christmastime – Gaston and Remington, and all of their children gather at Deverill Castle for what they believe to be Gaston’s last Christmas.
Or is it?
Suffering from what the physics term as a cancer in his throat, the man once known as The Dark One is devastated that the end of his life is approaching. He tries to be strong for his wife, for his children, but the truth is that he is tired, and it difficult for the once-powerful knight to admit that he is dying.
His family is equally devastated, especially his eldest sons, who remember when he was the most feared and powerful knight in the entire realm. When Dane de Russe stops at a local church to offer prayers for his father, to beg for a miracle, little does he realize that God, in fact, has heard his prayers.
On a night when angels walk the earth, witness a sweet and tender de Russe miracle, a timeless moment that transcends all seasons.
This short story is an extended epilogue to the de Russe novels Dark Moon and Dark Steel, but can be read as a standalone.
Welcome to the Surrey Sexual Freedom Society – where unconventional and uninhibited ladies and gentlemen discuss all matters erotic… After twenty-five years in the British army, Captain Randall Denham thought he’d seen it all. Yet nothing prepared him for Lady Portia Butler, the fiercest, most exasperating, and amusing beauty he’d ever met—or how hard he would fall for her. Randall yearns to be at her command in the bedchamber as well as out, but a match between a highborn lady and a penniless ex-soldier of dubious birth is impossible. Quite content to be unwed and childless, Portia cherishes her friends, her charitable causes, and outwitting the ton. She shouldn’t be having erotic fantasies about her bodyguard Denham…and definitely shouldn’t engage in a wicked secret affair with him. But when her family dictates she must cede her independence and marry a peer or face dire consequences, Portia faces her sternest battle yet: defeating the wealthy patriarchy to win the greatest prize of all—love.
Please note this book contains explicit language and sexual content.
A scarred man. A mysterious secret. A courageous woman who dares to follow her heart.
Earl Turner was once an arrogant cad, taking money from whomever he could, and never allowing anyone into his affections. However, one terrible night changes everything, leaving him with scars both inside and out. Lord Turner knows he needs a wife to continue the family line, but his return to society is both necessary and difficult.
Miss Dorothea Earnest has been held back from society by her father, only to find that he has promised her to a scarred and broken man. When her father continues to demand more of her, Dorothea is terrified to discover that he’s been hiding a dark secret.
Will Dorothea be able to give her trust to Lord Turner, or will her father keep his terrible hold on her? And can Lord Turner finally admit that the one thing he has never let himself hope for has finally taken hold of his heart?
If you love clean and wholesome, Regency romances with a strong woman heroine and an inspirational romantic story, you will love, Promise of the Earl.
Authors Note: This is a clean, stand-alone romance with no cliffhangers.
When Lord Edward Stonham kills his opponent in a duel he is forced to flee and take on a false identity. Miss Penelope Bradshaw applies for the job of his housekeeper in his new persona as Edward Trevelyan. She discovers the truth and becomes his confidante. They can never declare their love for each other because he is not in a position to make her an offer. Is there a way out of this dilemma are they prepared to ignore propriety in order to be together?
Duelling is a hanging offence – when Lord Edward’s opponent dies, apparently at his hand, he has no option but to flee. Meeting Miss Penelope Bradshaw just adds to his problems.
Amanda Hildreth jumped at the chance to start life anew in the booming town of Virginia City in Montana Territory. She heads West to work at her stepbrother’s mercantile and maybe find love one day. But, her mule train is attacked before she even gets there.
Mountain Man Cal Ayers agrees to lead Amanda safely across the mountains. It’s not long, though, before they realize the attack was aimed at Amanda – and that living with her stepbrother might not be the safest plan.
Amanda can’t establish a new life when someone is trying to kill her. And she can’t imagine a new life without Cal, who she’s falling for. But Cal is fighting his feelings as he is already engaged. Can Cal save Amanda’s life, and their burgeoning love, in time?
The day Quinten Marvell became the Duke of Somerset should have been the most exhilarating day of his life. Instead, it was the day he inherited nothing but a pile of outstanding debts. Yet, there was one thing he was certain his father couldn’t squander, a place gifted to his mother, and then to him. Determined to recover the entire Somerset legacy, Quinn flees to the only home left to him, Lindenwood Manor, and discovers it to be the crowning loss in his father’s long list of failures. Now the most direct path to recovery lies in the heart of his beautiful and wealthy neighbor, Miss Alice Moore. Knowing that marriage would sentence this lovely, scarred woman to a lifetime of being snubbed as a commoner, will he sacrifice her to save himself from a life of poverty?
Diana Gleason is determined to prove herself as a capable, confident, and essential Pinkerton agent, now that the agency had decided to bring women into their ranks. She’ll do anything to accomplish her assignment, even if it means marrying her partner and training agent. Wyatt McGrath is a handsome, charming, experienced agent, filled with Texas politeness and the patience to teach Diana what she needs to know.
But the more they get involved in the undercover investigation assigned to them, the more she discovers that her partner has secrets, and those secrets haunt him. More than that, those secrets could get in the way of their mission, and put them in danger. With growing feelings for Wyatt, and something to prove, Diana must decide if the mission comes before her partner, or if there is any way to save both.
Readers who have enjoyed the inspirational, clean, and heartfelt stories of authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens will enjoy this great read about young ladies coming out into society in the 1800’s
Did she do it?
Lord Caversham is desperate for help. His younger sister has been accused of theft and, unless she can be proven innocent, will be shunned from society forever. With her future in grave danger, he turns to the one person he thinks might be able to help him – Lady Angelica Landerbelt and her niece, Miss Catherine Newton.
Miss Catherine Newton has come to London for the Season, expecting to be fully chaperoned by her aunt. However, she never once thought that her Season would be filled with such exhilaration! Desiring to help both Lord Cavendish and his sister, Olivia, Catherine throws herself into the mystery headlong, only to find that she is in danger of losing her heart.
Will they be able to clear Olivia’s name? Or will the ever increasing danger break them all apart for good?
This is Book One in the series “A Lady Angelica Landerbelt Mystery.”
If you love Regency, inspirational-romance stories that are clean and wholesome and often include dukes, earls, barons, marquesses, lords and ladies, you will enjoy this book.
*This is a historical Regency romance novel of 31,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a sweet happily ever after.
The Wellchester Triplets Series is a set of 30,000 word stories that you will not want to put down. Each story is heartwarming and entertaining, and you will fall madly in love with each Triplet and their love story.
This box set Includes:
Rescuing the Soldier-Book 1 A new legacy began in the Wellchester family as red-headed, golden-eyed triplets were born to Sylvia and Ira. Each of the triplets, although born together, could not be more different in personality and character. Johanna, the wanderer, blazed a path for her life that was unique, if barely within the rules of propriety. With help from the matchmaker they called Aunt Margaret, could she possibly hope to find the man of her dreams. Was it possible he had literally fallen into her lap, in her own back yard. Join this tightly-knit, warm and welcoming family in their village of Tymington—all set in a time that was tumultuous with unrest.
Untamed Farrier- Book 2 Richard Wellchester, tall and coppery-haired with topaz eyes was one of triplets. Having trained in his father’s profession as farrier, he was ready to take on the world. With little besides his name, a forge, two horses and a wagon, he set off on his adventures. He was befriended by the King’s army and by the villain they sought to capture. Nothing would improve his good fortune until he happened upon the lovely Eliza, daughter of the bombastic squire who was determined to marry her off for riches and title. Richard’s heart held fast, though… could he outlast the squire’s willful convictions?
Love Lost at Sea- Book 3 That last remaining Wellchester triplet, Melody shared the copper coloring and flashing topaz eyes with her brother and sister. Her temperament matched, particularly when she crossed paths with the arrogant, controlling Mrs. Rutherford. The only redeeming quality Mrs. Rutherford, social dame of the village offered, was Conner, her son. Melody set her wistful sights on him as he left to go to sea and his mother ruined Melody’s fledgling seamstress business. Would Melody triumph in the end? Would Conner find his heart lay in the village of Tymington despite his dream of travelling the world?
*Author’s Note: The Wellchester Triplets series is a clean and sweet series*
He’s entirely the wrong sort of man. That’s what makes him so utterly right.
After a horrific marriage, widow Everleigh Chatterton is cynical and leery of men. She rarely ventures into society, and when she must, she barely speaks to them. Her one regret for refusing to marry again is that she’ll never bear children. As a favor to a friend, she reluctantly agrees to attend a Christmas house-party. Unfortunately, Griffin, Duke of Sheffield is also in attendance. Even though Everleigh has previously snubbed him, she can’t deny her attraction to the confident, darkly handsome duke.
For almost a year, Griffin has searched for the perfect duchess to help care for the orphan he’s taken on. He sets his sights on the exquisite, but unapproachable widow after her sweet interactions with the child impress him. Everleigh vows she’s not interested in him or any other man. But Griffin is convinced he can thaw her icy exterior and free the warm, passionate woman lurking behind the arctic facade. Only, as he pursues her, it’s his heart that’s transformed.
Can Everleigh learn to trust and love again? Will Griffin get his Christmas wish and make her his bride? Or, has he underestimated her wounds and fears and be forced to let her go?
This book is part of a series but it can be read as a stand-alone. Get this romantic heart-warming Regency Yuletide story you’ll want to read in one sitting.
Welcome once more to the Blackhaven Brides series bundle, now with books 5 through 8. This series is set in a newly fashionable spa town on the beautiful Cumbrian coast, where the great and the bad of visiting Regency society turn local life upside down. Passion, mystery, and scandal continue to follow the citizens of this wealthy enclave, now with an entire new group of social misfits. Regency Historical Romance has never been so adventurous – or so exciting!
This set includes:
The Wicked Marquis – The lady meets her match… and he’s completely ineligible.
The Wicked Governess – Can a governess teach a damaged hero?
The Wicked Spy – Can her enemy melt her cold heart?
The Wicked Gypsy – An old Blackhaven tragedy merges with a new quarrel.
Treva MacDougall is running for her life. Not just hers, but those of her clansmen. Fleeing the hangman’s noose, she must reach her rebel cousin in Scotland in time to warn him of an ambush by the Crown. Finagling her way aboard a pirate ship running contraband wasn’t difficult, but ignoring the intense temptation she feels toward the ship’s captain is verra difficult. She can’t allow herself to have feelings for any man, but maybe just one night of sinful pleasure…
A pirate caught in the middle
Coire Fletcher doesn’t trust women. None of them, but especially the dark haired, moss-eyed lass whose pretty lies got her onto his ship and her sharp wit and undying spirit is getting under his skin. He knows she’s lying—after all, she is a female—but by damned his growing attraction to her is as troubling as a Caribbean hurricane. He won’t be fooled again by a woman, not even one he can’t stop thinking about. He’ll deliver his smuggled goods and Treva at the next port, then sail away. Or so he thinks…
Chased by the British Navy and vengeful enemy pirates alike, Coire and Treva must leave past injustices behind and learn to trust each other…or neither may see another sunrise.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman of 27 is doomed to remain an old maid.
Charlotte Lucas knows this better than anyone.
Mr. Collins is Charlotte’s last chance at becoming a wife, but when he leaves Meryton without proposing, Charlotte is determined not to let this last opportunity pass her by.
The greatest challenge to Charlotte’s changes isn’t securing an invitation to Rosings Park, battling Lizzy’s temper, overcoming Lady Catherine’s unfathomable disapproval, or even Mr. Darcy’s odd behavior: it’s the distracting presence of Colonel Fitzwilliam. The man is neither handsome nor charming, but he’s honest and clever, which are enough to tease Charlotte with romantic notions that have never troubled her before.
Join Charlotte Lucas in this novel-length variation on Jane Austen’s classic, where practical Charlotte finally earns her own happy ending. Though a lover of clean regency romance, Miss Lucas is AV Knight’s first Pride and Prejudice variation.
A friendly holiday competition turns steamy in this Regency romance novella from the New York Times bestselling author of My One and Only Duke.
Previously published in Virtues of Christmas.Advice columnist Patience Friendly’s relationship with her stubborn, overbearing publisher, Dougal MacHugh, is anything but cordial. Dougal challenges Patience to take on a rival columnist in a holiday advice-a-thon, and sparks fly clear up to the mistletoe hanging from every rafter. Will Patience follow the practical guidance of her head or the passionate advice of her heart? “Grace Burrowes is a romance treasure.” -Tessa Dare
I’m so excited to kick off the New Year with a guest post from new Austen-inspired author, Jayne Bamber! She’s been so kind to offer a guest post with interesting insight into Colonel Fitzwilliam, as well as an excerpt and a giveaway!
Colonel Fitzwilliam, the Ultimate Wingman
By Jayne Bamber, Author of Happier in Her Friends Than Relations
Thanks for joining me on the release date of my debut novel, Happier in Her Friends Than Relations! To celebrate the novel’s official release, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite characters in the Austen world: Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Jane Austen did
not actually give him a first name, though by consensus of the fandom, it is
widely accepted as Richard, a name given him in the ‘95 film adaptation. From
there, authors and readers have gone on to take a great deal further liberty
with his character, making the most out of what is honestly a pretty minimal
amount of information.
described Colonel Fitzwilliam as “about thirty, not handsome, but in person and
address most truly the gentleman.” Lizzy likes him, so we are instantly
disposed to do the same. He appears in just a handful of chapters in the middle
of the book, and does little other than speak amiably with Lizzy, while Mr.
Darcy stares broodingly at her.
contrast between the two cousins’ personalities is part of his function in the
story. Colonel Fitzwilliam converses with easily Lizzy and everyone else, and
Lizzy thinks wells of him for it. Yet when Darcy attempts to do the same one
night at Rosings, Lizzy accuses him, half in jest, of attempting to “frighten”
her. Though the reader can see the flirtation in their banter, Lizzy is still
blind, at this point, to Darcy’s interest in her, and her own interest in him.
to see it, in part thanks to Colonel Fitzwilliam, when the two cousins visit
“Colonel Fitzwilliam’s occasionally
laughing at [Darcy’s] stupidity, proved that he was generally different, which
her own knowledge of him could not have told her.”
So while Lizzy
teases Mr. Darcy to provoke him, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s manner of teasing with
Darcy really suggests that perhaps he is not typically as stoic and stony as
Lizzy believes him to be. Whereas Wickham would have believe that Darcy only
“chooses to be a conversible companion if it is worth his while,” Colonel
Fitzwilliam proves that Darcy merely wants companions with whom he can feel at
So there you have
it, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a regency wingman. Of course, we know he is not
particularly effective in this role, as he goes on to accidentally inform Lizzy
of the role Darcy played in separating Bingley from her sister. Though in the
text it is Lizzy who steers them toward this subject, most variations and
adaptations interpret this as the Colonel’s attempt to portray his cousin in a
good light, and a few vagaries even treat us to scenes of the Colonel realizing
In the hundreds
of variations out there, the vast majority of them offer us a closer look at
the Colonel, and with the exception of the few that paint him as a competitor
for Lizzy’s affections, he is generally portrayed as eager to help his cousin
Darcy win Lizzy’s affection. It happens a hundred different ways, and yet we are
always eager for more: Colonel Fitzwilliam foiling Wickham’s schemes, teasing
his cousin, and getting into cheeky shenanigans with other characters he never
crosses paths with in the books.
Every so often we
are extra-fortunate, and in addition to all this, Colonel Fitzwilliam gets a
love story of his own. Charlotte Lucas, Anne de Bourgh, Jane Bennet, Mary, even
Lydia – with so many ladies in the story, it does seem a shame to have him
still single at the end, doesn’t it? He’s got great potential as a secondary
romantic hero. Jane Austen gives us just enough information to imagine the rest
– the Colonel is mischievous and a flirt, but he loves his family, and anyone
devoted to helping Darcy win his lady must surely deserve their own romance!
I certainly think
so, and in Happier in Her Friends than Relations, we learn that perhaps he is
eager to help Darcy win Lizzy because he’s a bit of a romantic, who is looking
for a very specific kind of woman for himself, and he might just find her in
In the excerpt
below, the Colonel, who is now Viscount Hartley, after the convenient death of
his elder brother (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) is pursuing one of Lizzy’s
friends, though I’ve redacted her name for the sake of maintaining some
suspense, though I think you might be able to guess….
An unhappy alternative was before her—tolerate the insipid
conversation of the Parker sisters, or remain alone with Lord Hartley, who gave
her his most charming smile as he perceived her dilemma.
“We needn’t dance at present, if you do not wish to,” said
he, falling into step with her as she moved around the perimeter of the room.
“As we have taken once to the floor already, I understand I might only enjoy
that pleasure once more this evening, without pushing the bounds of propriety,
and I had rather hoped for the last set of the evening with you, if that would
“And what if I say that it will not be
“That is certainly your prerogative. Were I to
request to this set, you would forfeit dancing for the rest of the evening,
were you to decline me. However, I do not think you are very inclined
to dance at all, so perhaps it will be no great loss. But, as I have only
offered the final dance of the evening, you make no such forfeit in refusing
me. Indeed, you have nothing to lose.”
“A rare stroke of luck for a lady in a ballroom.” She
laughed in spite of herself. How could it be possible for her to both wish to
accept him and refuse him, all at once?
The viscount chuckled. There was something pleasant about
the way his honey-colored eyes lit with mischief; it nearly rendered him
handsome. But no, she was sure that when she had her first met him, he had been
very plain indeed. “Do not count yourself too lucky just yet, for if we are not
to dance, you must at least bear the tedium of my conversation, which my sister
tells me is a rather awful thing.”
“A wise woman. But, pray, why do you waste your time with
me, sir? There is such a crush present, and you might have your pick of any of
the young ladies here. I am sure there are any number of perfectly willing
partners for a young, single viscount. I do not think you have danced with
anyone outside your own party all night. You have not Mr. Darcy’s shy
disposition. How can you account for it?”
He shrugged. “A matter of preference, I
“You prefer to speak with perhaps the one woman here,
outside your own family, who will not contemplate forming any designs upon
“Yes, that is it—I wish to dance only with women who hold no
romantic potential whatsoever, that is the way a ball works,” he quipped
sarcastically, before pretending to pout. “Truly, no designs at all?
You wound me.”
She scowled. “You are a strange man, Lord Hartley. I know
your sister is exaggerating when she claims you to be positively deranged, but
I do wonder.…”
“You wonder at my having a sense of humor?”
“Not everything is a joke.”
He laughed again, and offered her his arm as they continued
strolling about the room. “That is true—most things are terrible, but if I do
not look for humor where I can, the world would be a ghastly place. It is
better to laugh; speaking from experience, the alternative is no way to live.
So, you may call it whatever you like—humor, impertinence, recklessness.…” He
waggled his eyebrows dramatically. “Perhaps it is rather
reckless of me to set my proverbial cap at the most unattainable woman here,
but I like you.”
She grimaced. “I wish you would not say such things. You do
not know me.”
He looked intently at her. “But I wish to.”
“You are my sister’s friend, and the dearest friend of my
cousin’s future bride. I am sure we shall be very often thrown together in the
future, with so many common acquaintances.”
“In other words, I am a convenient choice,” she said
“I think you rather wish to misunderstand
me. What I am suggesting is that people whose opinion I value find your
friendship agreeable. You intrigue me, and have done so from the earliest
moments of our acquaintance. Do you not recall our first meeting, at
Longbourn in March?”
“I cannot see how I could have possibly made an impression
on you at such a time.”
“Then you underestimate yourself. You offered consolation to
a family of near strangers, and I shall never forget your countenance
as you looked at poor Lizzy, while she was in such despair. You had tears in
your eyes, and at that moment I knew you were a woman capable of a great depth
of feeling. A woman who has known pain and suffering, who has been formed by
experiences that would break a lesser creature. I accepted the invitation to
Netherfield for the express purpose of coming to know you better, after
witnessing your tender compassion.”
She felt a pang in her heart as she recalled the very moment
he had described, but she could not accept his admiration. “And here I thought
you and your sister stayed at Netherfield so that you might be of
assistance to Lizzy.”
“We might have stayed at the local inn to accomplish that,
but I wanted to be near you. Tell me, did you not enjoy my company?”
In truth, she could not deny that he and his sister had both
been delightful houseguests. They had listened to her play and sing, and what
performer did not enjoy an energetic audience? They had conversed, taken
strolls in the gardens, and dined together with her family. Lord Hartley had
proven himself to be everything a gentleman ought to be, but her heart had not
been touched. How could it have been, after a mere week’s acquaintance
“You do not answer me,” Lord Hartley said. “Was I so
“Pah, now you are baiting me. I must say something
complimentary, else I will seem positively rude.”
He leaned in, whispering, “I have a strong suspicion that
you are absolutely unafraid of being rude.”
She could not resist laughing, for he was very near the
truth. “I must speak as I find.”
“And you did not find me to be of any interest at all in the
spring? What of my visit in the summer, for your sister’s ball? That was the
first time I had the pleasure of dancing with you, and I think you rather
“I cannot deny that,” she admitted. “I am capable
of taking enjoyment in such things. Sometimes.”
Lord Hartley scrunched his face. “You puzzle me exceedingly.
I cannot make your character out at all.”
She smiled triumphantly. “Then perhaps you had better not
set your cap at me, sir.”
“Too late, I am far too intrigued; I wish to know you
better. Tell me, have I no hope of succeeding?”
is he so determined? Did Lady Rebecca put him up to this? She could
well imagine her friend setting her sights on marrying all her female friends
into her own family, merely for the convenience.
she attempted to formulate some reply, she looked up and glanced around the
ballroom, determined to avoid Lord Hartley’s eye until she knew how to respond
without yielding. It was then that she unexpectedly locked eyes with John
Thanks for joining me on the third stop of my blog tour, and a special shout-out to those of you who have been following Happier since the days of posting on AHA and AO3! As a thank-you for all the wonderful support I’ve received, I have started a give-away, and will be selecting a winner after each post on the blog tour! See the full schedule for the blog tour below, and click here to follow me on Facebook for updates on the sequel, coming soon!
Thank you so much for such an interesting post and excerpt, Jayne! Best of luck with your release!
About the author
Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself. Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.
After years of dating Wickhams, Collinses, and the occasional Tilney-that-got-away, Jayne married her very own Darcy (tinged with just the right amount of Mr. Palmer) and the two live together in Texas with a pair of badly behaved rat terriers, and a desire to expand their menagerie of fur babies.
I freely admit, when it comes to goals, I regularly bite off more than I can chew. According to all the self-help and motivational books I’ve read this year, that’s a great thing. So, I’ll put that under the category of flaws about myself I need to celebrate and accept. That category has lots of other things in it to keep goal-making company.
My typical problem with goals is not a lack of motivation, but a lack of plans. I will write ALL the words! And my plan looks like this: wake up: write. sleep: never, just keep writing. Well, that’s obviously not very sustainable when I’m healthy let alone when me or the kids get sick, allowing me to have time with my husband, a plan for when he’s out of town, a move, or anything else life tosses at me.
In recent months, I began a bullet journal and it’s worked brilliantly for me. I don’t do all the fancy designs and stuff. I just make a list of what I need to do. I write out when other appointments are coming. Now, that I know how to really plan in a way that works for me, I could probably use a traditional planner (which I have used before and would always lose) but I like having a little journal that can fit in my purse and I can jot down any note that I want.
Now that I have so many stories under my belt, I have a basic idea of how many words I can type in a block of time. I do well with sprinting. That is, I write for a few minutes with a timer going. Then I take a break (sometimes for hours) and come back. During the writing session, I don’t focus on finding the right word or researching something. I’m just writing. I will reread what I wrote later and make changes. It’s a much more effective use of my time. I can stare at an empty page all day and tell myself to write, or I can say to myself, just write (the intended scene because I do outline) for 15 minutes and suddenly the pressure is off. Usually, when the timer goes off, I don’t want to stop!
All this to say, that I really do think I have a fair chance of meeting my goals this year! This is important to you (even those waiting on an update for Mr. Darcy’s Compassion) because it means more stories. Before we get to the books though, I also have these goals not listed in order: Kindle paperbacks, Book website. Audiobook, Figure out how to balance writer & younique & homeschool, Learn Amazon ads, Learn Facebook ads, New covers!, Consistent posts, Grow network, Grow Newsletter, be more consistent, Upgrade bookfunnel, Own author email account, Learn videos, Business cards (author and younique), Patreon, Fix When Love Blooms series
And while there are notes about homeschooling and Younique in there, that’s mostly just the writer goals.
Here are the book plans:
January: Mr. Darcy’s Compassion (novel)
March: Lady Darcy’s Bluestocking Club (novel, sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride)
April: Mr. Darcy’s Impertinent Daughter (novella, sequel to The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter)
June: Domestic Felicity (novel, sequel to A Sense of Obligation)
July: Surprising Serenity (novella, Book 4 in When Love Blooms)
August: Restored (novella, book 1 in Friends and Follies, a Loving Elizabeth spin-off)
October: The Secrets of Donwell Abbey (novel, Emma Variation)
November: Debut of The Duchess of Clifford’s Lessons on Love Books 1-4: These will be short novels. Book 1: Tempting Scandal (Nate and Sylvia) Book 2: Beguiling Friendship (Jonathan and Penelope) Book 3: Untitled (Max and CeCe) Book 4: Untitled (James and Hannah)
December: A Christmas story which may or may not be JAFF
Throughout the year, I want to dedicate time to working on Mr. Darcy and the Bewitched Sisters. I hope to have the series ready to launch in 2021.
Now, it should be noted that only three of these stories have 0 words. A few only have a few hundred but I have spent years working on the outline and honing the intended tropes. As it stands now, Mr. Darcy’s Compassion and The Secrets of Donwell Abbey are the only stories which are stand-alone works. Only two of the JAFF stories are part of a planned series. How will the sequels to my old works do? I don’t know. However, the characters and the universe each story created which I thought was laid to rest with “the end” have spoken to me a lot in the last two years. I actually intended to work on them last year and didn’t do it. I am tired of breaking promises to myself, so here we go!
Also, I am getting off to a slow start as we have recently had a loss in my husband’s family and I am having some kind of reaction to a virus (so the neurologist thinks) and am dealing with loss of feeling all over my body. However, if there’s anything I know about myself, it’s that I can overcome and get back on the horse.
In my weekly chat with my author friends Zoe Burton and Leenie Brown, we discussed our top ten best sellers for 2018. I’m inordinately proud of myself. 2018 was probably the hardest year of my life emotionally. We moved twice. The first time was to my childhood town and for reasons I won’t get into here, I lost any residual social net I had. It’s a special form of torment to know you are friendless in the world and to fear seeing reminders of happier days everywhere you go. By the time we had to move again, it was a welcome relief.
In the first part of the year, I also suffered through bouts of extreme intestinal issues. I ended up doing a colonoscopy and an endoscopy but both turned up inconclusive. There was no medical reason for my constant bathroom trips.
I also started the year by homeschooling my autistic son but his ABA therapists recommended he try public school, even though the school was only willing to put him in an Autism program at a different school. It involved driving an extra 20 minutes each way and for a time, he was secluded in a secure room with nothing but a chair and a table. All supplies were kept in the hallway. He was also released after only 2 hours. Eventually, he adjusted to school rules and finished the year entirely integrated in the first grade classroom, going a full day, and without an aide. His improvement was amazing!
I put Secrets of Pemberley on a pre-order so I would force myself to write and finish it. I had learned from so many other moves that I would get busy with life adjustments and allow myself to be too depressed to work. It was close, but I got it done in time!
I experimented by putting The Secrets of Pemberley in Kindle Unlimited. It pays the author by the number of pages read. Therefore a novel will likely earn more than a novella unless the novella attracts far more readers. Since The Secrets of Pemberley was a long novel, I thought it would do well in Kindle Unlimited. I thought it would attract new readers as well. Unfortunately, that did not end up being true. I compared the numbers between SOP and my other novel releases and I had the exact number of my people who usually buy, who didn’t this time, had read the book and I got paid less for it. It didn’t attract extra readers at all. I took it out of KU after the first 90 days and since then, it’s slowly earned nearly $9,000. I would usually have earned that in the first 90 days.
After its release at the end of March, my intestinal issues increased. It was impossible to work much on anything. Inexplicably, they stopped in June, just when we were moving.
Again, I knew I needed to set a goal to meet. I put the first book of the Loving Elizabeth series on pre-order for early July. I set a personal goal for myself to do all three books back to back. I planned on releasing the second one in August and the third one in September or maybe October, depending on how school went for my kids. I pushed hard and released Reunited at the end of July!
Since their release, Pledged and Reunited have earned $2800 each and nearly everyone who has bought Pledged has bought Reunited. The sales are a little lower than my novellas usually get. However, I believe that is due to the fact that they were a series.
I didn’t get as much done in August as I had planned. I went out of town for the Younique convention (I also sell makeup), my husband was out of town, and my son had issues with his day camp. We had planned to travel some in the month and that didn’t work out. Teddy was also sick with strep once. I had a UTI before the convention and just felt awful and run down after it.
The kids started school in September and I was a basket case of nerves. I could tell right away there were going to be issues with the school and following Teddy’s IEP. I didn’t expect them to not communicate with me at all, to ban me from his classroom, or to have a new rule every single day.
We evacuated for a hurricane in the second week of September and then it was like starting all over again with school and routines. On September 20, I got told that I’m officially a diabetic. I had already lost 10 pounds since August by cutting out eating out so much. I began a low carb regimen and have lost another 20 pounds–although it did not always stay off as I ate off plan many times.
My daughter also had many outbursts and escalated defiant and violent behavior. Deciding enough was enough, I got her an emergency evaluation through the local community services board since it was going to take weeks before a pediatrician could get her in and then weeks after that before they could refer her to a pediatric psychologist. They erroneously diagnosed her with Oppositional Defiance Disorder after watching her for 20 minutes. Thankfully, I had a few friends who were suggesting I research what Autism was like for girls. I am glad I did because I noticed she had trouble at transitions, she had huge expectations that she couldn’t let go, that she mostly mimicked other kids but didn’t seem to really engage with them, and loads of more signs. I decided to write down her entire life history and things became so much more clear after that. Unfortunately, the services at the Community Services Board were unhelpful. They completely ignored my daughter and talked solely to me and about things like saying no. Well, goodness. I just had never thought of that before! *eyeroll*
Finally, she had an appointment with a pediatrician who mentioned a pediatric psychologist who didn’t have long wait times. Unfortunately, she didn’t accept our insurance and we had to pay for it entirely out of pocket. We were blessed that we had the money for that, though. After several sessions which lasted several hours, she has been diagnosed with mild Autism, borderline severe ADHD, anxiety, and depression. She begins ABA and play therapy later this month.
At the same time, things were coming to a head for my son at his school. They had an IEP meeting in which they threw out everything his past instructor made and didn’t even remotely follow the federal laws. I am still deciding if I want to bring a case against them. My husband and I decided to give them another try for a few more weeks and during that time, I knuckled down.
I finished Treasured and it went live on November 20, just a few days before I withdrew my kids to homeschool. I managed to finish my Christmas story for the year, How Darcy Saved Christmas in the first week of homeschooling and it was published on December 4. Together, those books have earned about $2,000 in a little over a month.
I also released a backlist anthology toward the end of October. My big anthologies are great income producers. I find a common theme or something that can bind the stories together. They’re typically several hundred pages long. Desperately Mr. Darcy is over a thousand pages. Even though they’re older stories, it’s my top earner of the year, coming in at just over $10,000.
All in all, my new releases earned $16,450 this year. My backlist anthologies earned $17,500. That means my stand alone back list made $11,613. I rang in the New Year at $45,000 for the year which was $12,000 more than I made in 2017. I published 5 unique works in 2018, compared to only 3 in 2017. I don’t know how The Maid of Inverness is fairing, as I only get quarterly reports. However, I count that as simply extra unexpected money. It’s worth noting that several books from my backlist have earned more this year than new releases did. Mr. Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride earned $3500 for the year and Mr. Darcy’s Miracle at Longbourn earned $1100.
I said in my opening I’m proud of how I did for the year and I would be at any rate. $45,000 is nothing to sneeze at, even if it’s not all profits. A growth of $12,000 in a year is great for a small business. But what really makes me proud is when I look at the difference between that and when I began publishing. I’m not in competition with anyone but myself! At the end of 2014, I had earned (not even received) $6,700. I looked at that number and thought that I should keep publishing to help my family. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be earning $45,000 a few years later. I can also tell you, no one else thought I would be either. It took a few pay checks for my husband to see publishing my stories as anything other than a hobby. It took years before I told anyone else–even my mother. Once I did, the reactions were usually skeptical. They also all thought that I would quit before too long.
Well, I have proved something to myself and all of them! I have kept this up during 7 moves, 2 autism diagnosis, 5 new schools for my kids, 2 stints at homeschooling, 3 severe medical issues for myself, and more bouts with anxiety and depression than I can count. There is no guaranteed income in publishing. There’s no steady paycheck I’m getting even if I write 40 hours a week. I have to write what people want to read. I have to FIND those readers. I’ve written every word of 27 books. I’ve found readers for each and every one of them. And they’re books that are still finding their way to readers even 4 years after their publication.
Let me leave this post with this word to you. You can accomplish anything! Don’t look at where you are! Look at where you want to be! Set the goal, then do the work. Believe in yourself, I do!
I don’t think “normal” people can comprehend how much I love Christmas songs. To give you some idea, I made a Spotify playlist of my absolute favorites and narrowed it down to a trim 35 songs and nearly 2 hour run time. I’ve never met a Christmas song I hated.
Ok, that’s not true. I do loathe Feliz Navidad, Last Christmas, and Wonderful Christmastime. Mostly, I think I dislike them because they get over played. I’m not thrilled by a great many of other songs but I don’t hear I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus or I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas very often. What I absolutely adore are the old classics from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Perry Como and so on. What speaks to my soul even more are the traditional carols. My Spotify list is a mix of several different styles. I tried organizing it but it won’t stay that way so I’m sorry if it seems jarring to switch between different styles.
It’s not easy at this time of year to be focused on the reason for the season. Thanks to this new world where we have to be offended by something every other breath, this season has been even more fraught than usual. Once we’ve all taken sides and pitchforks against each other in the social media battlefield over songs, there is still all the other exhausting holiday things to do: decorating, shopping, wrapping, gifting, parties, events, traveling, cooking, baking, and more shopping.
I’ve been out of the Christmas loop for the last few years as we are usually moving at Christmas. It’s easy to justify no need go all out with decorating when your life is in boxes. However, this year, we are staying put for once, and the kids have expectations. Adults aren’t the only ones bombarded with media telling us what the “perfect Christmas” looks like! It affects kids as well.
I’m homeschooling this year and so I’ve bought more presents than I usually do. I’ve noticed that my daughter isn’t playing with certain toys and asks for time with others that she would find in a more traditional kindergarten classroom. Lord help me, but I’ve bought a few puzzles. They’re not the first puzzles, we’ve owned, of course. It’s just that it’s so easy to lose pieces. Sigh. I’ve bought a few other activity things for us to do, replacement supplies for her play kitchen because I guess they sprouted legs but I can’t find them anywhere. No wonder she doesn’t want to play with it! I’ve complained on Facebook that the only thing I can find for my son is Lego kits. He happens to love Legos but it seems like his gifts should be more well-rounded.
I came up with a plan to buy cookies and pass them around the neighborhood. We’ve been here 6 months and I only know the next door neighbor’s name. She has custody of her grandkids who are near in age to my daughter. However, since we are homeschooling, I rarely see them. Thank goodness my husband is on vacation this week. He can help us in the kitchen while we bake and make sure tiny hands are washed so we don’t spread salmonella or something.
I actually don’t have to do much cooking for the big day itself. We will be traveling to visit family a few hours away. But then…well, then there’s the politics of family and in-laws. It comes with a strange house the kids don’t know and strange people and strange customs and lots and lots of opinions. I’ll be sure to take my anti-anxiety medicine that day.
And then there’s the issue of the Ghost of Christmas Past. I’m a headcase, plain and simple. Growing up, Christmas was always a tough time. I’m full of memories of arguments and fights, fear of bills, anxiety over presents, and just a looming sense of disaster. Again, pass the anxiety meds, as I try to bottle up memories and keep them from seeping into everything in my present life.
Through it all, I try to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas. I tell them it’s better to give than to receive when they can’t understand why we are donating new toys to Toys for Tots, donate to a charity, or give some loose change and spare cash to red Salvation Army bins. I remind them again, and again, and again, that Christmas is NOT about presents. It’s not about Santa. It’s not about all the expectations we’ve created of decorations or food or even forced cheerfulness and visiting family. I want them to know the real reason for the season because I don’t know what the future holds for them. What if they one day take a job where they have to work on Christmas? What if they live far away from us and can’t visit over the holiday? What if they just prefer a minimal existence and don’t enjoy decking the halls with holly? I want them to know that Christmas is in their hearts and can be all year long. I want them to know that they can still have a wonderful, blessed, happy Christmas even if xyz doesn’t happen.
And just when I am feeling entirely over-exhausted from it all, one of them will say something that lets me know they get it. It makes it all worth it. This holiday season, remember the real reason for the season. Remember to give to the less fortunate. Remember to spread love and cheer. Have grace for others, you never know what battle people are going through. Have open arms and an open heart. And if that exhausts you, and it might, well, at least then it will be worth something instead of being exhausted from all the manic shopping and vainglorious display the media tells us is necessary for Christmas. Take back Christmas!