Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Unknown Betrothal #10

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

This will be my final post for this story. Hopefully, I’ll have a new one next week. I have renamed this story at least once, maybe twice. It’s finalized title is Darcy’s Surprise Betrothal. I hope to have it available for sale next week.

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? And, that the Thursday posts are expanded for my patrons, who get a whole chapter?

~~~***~~~

The next day dawned bright and clear. As it was her wedding day, Elizabeth did not go for her customary stroll around the estate. Her mother and sisters insisted she not see Fitzwilliam before the ceremony, and to prevent such an occurrence, one of them remained with her at all times. Mary, known to be the sister most likely to stick to the rules, slept in the bed with Elizabeth. In the morning, the rest of the girls took turns, ending with Jane, who helped her next younger sister with her hair and gown.

“It is a black dress, Jane. There really is not much that can be done to improve it.”

“That does not mean it cannot be presented in the best possible manner. I am grateful that the irises are blooming. They are both appropriate to our mourning, and cheerful in color.”

“Yes, I appreciate the blue and purple of the blooms.” Elizabeth sighed. “I wish Papa was here.”

Jane handed her favorite sister a handkerchief. “If he were here, you would not be marrying. You would not even be aware that you were betrothed.”

Elizabeth smiled her thanks to Jane and used the cloth to dab at the dears that had rushed to her eyes. “I think that I might be. Mr. Darcy’s health would still be poor, and his late wife’s sister would still be pushing him to marry Fitzwilliam to her daughter.”

“True.” Jane sighed and then pulled out her own handkerchief. Her father’s passing still seemed unreal, despite the many new and unexpected things that had occurred since that day. “Uncle Gardiner invited me to join them in London when they return.”

Elizabeth watched her sister’s reflection in the mirror. “Will you go?”

Jane was silent for a minute, fussing with a strand of her sister’s hair. “I will. Aunt convinced me that Mama really does not need me as much as she says she does; she has the other girls, and Mary is old enough to begin learning how to run the house, anyway.”

“Fitzwilliam tells me Mr. Bingley is returning to town after the wedding.”

“Yes.” The corners of Jane’s mouth tipped up a bit. “Aunt used that information, as well. She said Uncle has given Mr. Bingley permission to call on me, if I allow it. It was very generous of him, especially since we are in mourning.”

“Yes, but I think Uncle feels that exceptions can be made for certain circumstances, and given ours, he does not wish to deter a possible suitor.”

Jane nodded, then sighed. “Yes.”

“Do you want Mr. Bingley to call?”

Jane startled. She looked up, her wide eyes meeting Elizabeth’s in the mirror. “Oh, yes! Very much so.”

“Good. You did not sound very enthusiastic for a second there.”

“I am, though. Oh,” she exclaimed, letting go of the tendril of hair she was trying to arrange to clench her fists in frustration and pump them up and down. “I do not know what is wrong with me. I find Mr. Bingely attractive, and I want to know him better, I truly do. I know in my heart Mama does not really need me, and I know that Papa would want me to be happy. He would laugh at me if he could see me dithering as I am. And, he would tell me to go to town and allow myself to be courted. I know this. Still, I feel as though I’m behaving wrongly to do so.”

Elizabeth turned around and took Jane’s hands. “I hear Mama’s voice in some of that. Has she been upset that you are going?”

“Yes,” Jane admitted, misery clear in her voice and the tears in her eyes. “She told me I am neglecting my duty to her by leaving.” Jane sobbed, and Elizabeth immediately stood, wrapping her in a tneder embrace.

“She is wrong. Mama does not like change, and she wants her girls around her to coddle her while it happens. You cannot live your life catering to her whims. She is a woman grown, and she should be leading us, not you or I or Mary.” Elizabeth pulled back a few inches, and looked her sister in the face. “You must do what is best for Jane. Mama will cope. The only real difference in her situation is that she is going to be living in a different house. She will not have to cook or anything else. Everything has been provided for her. Do not allow her to run you, Sister.”

~~~***~~~

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Writer’s Journal: Sharing

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

WARNING: I will be mentioning my faith in this post. If you don’t want to read about it, you should consider moving on now.

Today I’m going to talk about something I’ve had on my mind a lot lately, and that is sharing other people’s work, regardless of genre. I’ve spent a large chunk of my time considering it, looking at it from all angles, and praying about it. In the end, I decided to go ahead and share books of all genres, and I’ll tell you why.

As you may already know, I am a woman of faith. I’m a Spirit-filled, born again believer in Jesus Christ who is learning to be Spirit-led. I’m also not at all legalistic, but I might talk more about that later. My point here is that I have spent a couple weeks now studying 1 Corinthians 13, and learning about love. God has shown me areas that I need to work on so he can increase my blessings, and love is a big one. Part of my problem has been that I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing, so I do nothing, and part of it has been worry that I’ll lose friends/readers/other people’s good opinion.

You know what, though? If I want those other authors to share my stuff so I can gain new readers, I have to play ball and share theirs, even if it’s gay romance. I don’t have to read it, and I don’t say, “You should read this” when I do share. I simply share without comment.

Also, I’m not supposed to be a people-pleaser. I’m supposed to be a God-pleaser. Sometimes, that means doing something that’s unpopular. Other writers (well, people in general) who are non-believers will not like all of my opinions and actions. Likewise, many Christians are not going to agree with or like things I say and do. The important thing to me is that I’m making God happy. I want everyone to like me, but in the end, it’s not important that some Christian with a checklist or some atheist, radical feminist doesn’t approve of me or my books or my behavior.

Then, too, who’s to say that my sharing something that I won’t or don’t read will not someday lead to that author coming to me and saying, “Hey, I know you’re a Christian but you still share my stuff and treat me well. Why is that?” If sharing a book release might open that door, I’d be in sin to refuse to share.

There’s this, as well: not all of my readers are believers in Jesus, and some have other tastes beyond what I write, and even beyond JAFF in general. Now, some of the more legalistic folks in JAFF, and I can right off the top of my head name three authors for sure and another who’s a probability, most likely have a problem with the idea of me sharing all manner of books. I’m guessing there are readers who share their dismay, as well. I don’t hold it against them, or condemn those people for their opinions, or for not sharing. That’s between them and God, just like my choice is between me and God.

In the end, though, I have prayed about this, and looked at what the Word says, and have come to the conclusion that God is okay with this. If I have missed it, He will tell me, and I can back up and try again.

I have peace about this, and I hope my readers will, as well.

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Unknown Betrothal #9

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

I can’t remember if I told you last week, but this story is rapidly coming to a close. There will probably be not more than two more posts for it. I changed the name, too, after being advised that it was weak. So, when it gets published it will be Darcy’s Surprise Betrothal.

With this book, I’ll have a brand-new cover style. Be looking, especially on Facebook but probably also here on the blog, for it. I plan to share everywhere I can so my readers are not shocked or anything. 🙂

I’m not sure how much I give away here. I’ll leave it to you to tell me. 🙂

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? And, that the Thursday posts are expanded for my patrons, who get a whole chapter?

~~~***~~~

Just as the sun began to rise, a shout was heard among the searchers, and everyone rushed to reach the spot. Darcy was overjoyed to see his son, wet and bedraggled, walking towards him.

“Son!” Darcy rushed to Fitzwilliam, pulling him in for a quick hug and then releasing him to step back, hands on Fitzwilliam’s shoulders. “I am very happy to see you. You kept us all up, pacing the floors last night. Are you well? Where is your horse?” Darcy looked over his son’s shoulder.

“I am well. I stumbled across a small barn last night. It was abandoned, I think; the roof was mostly missing. Orlando is tied there. He came up lame not long after I made the decision to find shelter. He slipped in the mud. I cannot feel a break; I suspect a strain, but since I had no idea where I was, I thought it best to leave him there until I had worked out where we were.”

“That was wise. Can you point us in the direction of the barn? I will send someone to bring the gelding back.”

As Fitzwilliam directed one of the tenants to the building, Gardiner walked up, blanket in hand. Handing the piece of cloth to Darcy, he informed his new friend that he had sent for a carriage to pick Fitzwilliam up.

“Thank you, Gardiner, I appreciate that.” Darcy took the blanket, laying it over the shoulders of his now-shivering son. Once Fitzwilliam turned back to him from speaking to the farmers, he informed him of the coming carriage.

“Are we really that far from Longbourn? I would far rather walk. It warms the blood, and I need warming.”

Darcy’s brows rose in surprise. “I do not believe we are more than a mile away, what say you, Gardiner?”

“Not much further than that, I would imagine. But are you certain you are well enough for that, Fitzwilliam?”

“I am. I have a little chill is all.”

“Very well, then. We will walk.” Darcy positioned himself on one side of Fitzwilliam, and Gardiner on the other, and they began the trek back to Longbourn.

“How is Elizabeth? Was she worried?”

“She was. She remained below stairs until after midnight.”

“Your father had to force her to go to bed, or nearly so.”

“Did you see her this morning?”

Darcy assured his son they had. “She was waiting in the drawing room for our return.”

~~~***~~~

I’d love to hear what you think! Please consider leaving me a comment! 🙂

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Writer’s Journal: Professional Development-Podcasts

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

Imagine my surprise when I realized that I did not leave Professional Development (PD) behind when I left the teaching field. First, I stared, as “WHAT!!!” clanged around in my brain for a while. Then, I deflated. Like a big, round balloon. Flat. Wilted. Heaving a great sigh, I picked myself back up, squared my shoulders, and cried, “Point me to it!” So began my journey to Writer’s PD.

The first PD I discovered was podcasts. This caused another groan, because I really don’t like videos and things. I get sucked into cat videos on Facebook and hate myself later. I just really love cats, and they get me every time. I finally, after decades, have a YouTube account. In my author name, not my real name. I discovered just last year that people actually go to that website, click a video, and just keep watching whatever comes next. I shake my head at these people, who apparently have no other form of entertainment. I don’t get it. But I digress. I don’t even watch many movies. The Nativity Story on Christmas Eve is often the only movie I watch all year. Except for a period of about twelve months in 2010/2011 in which I watched Pride & Prejudice ’05 every day and then a few months of daily Jane Eyre with Toby Stephens, I’ve never watched a lot of movies. It’s hard for something to hold my attention long enough to watch a movie. Now, a book I can spend hours reading. 😉

So, podcasts. The first one I discovered was The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn. I really like her and the information she shares. Not all of her podcasts apply to me, and even the ones that do are really long and frequently get cut off in the middle. *blush* However, I have learned a lot from her and her guests. I’d one day like to be as successful as she is.

The second podcast I discovered was the Self-Publishing Formula podcast with Mark Dawson and James Blatch. It seems like James is the one who does all the interviewing, but we get to see Mark at the beginning and the end. Again, the podcasts are very well done and very informative, and I have learned quite a bit.

Another podcast I have seen a few episodes of is Chris Fox’s. His show seems to be all on YouTube, and he covers everything from world building to outlining to things no one told you about being an author. His are blessedly short, which makes people like me very happy. 🙂

There are more podcasts out there, ones I have never tried. The Sell More Books Show comes highly recommended, and I think I should really try to listen to that one now and again. Another good one that I think I should try to catch more of is The Business of Writing. Craig Martelle is one of the guys on that show, and he always has good advice. Buffer, the social media scheduling site that I use, has a podcast. There are many, many more podcasts out there. It only takes a Google search to find them.

What are your favorite podcasts?

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Unknown Betrothal #8

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

I have gone back in and added a whole bunch to this story, because I felt that I was missing it in spots. I’m nearing the end of the actual writing process, so there will only be a few more of these posts. I will soon begin to post the story in its entirety at darcyandlizzy.com and start editing. Keep watching my blog for a cover reveal, too!

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? And, that the Thursday posts are expanded for my patrons, who get a whole chapter, sometimes more?

~~~***~~~

Just as Elizabeth stopped speaking, a noise drew Fitzwilliam’s attention behind him. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Mary on the ground. Immediately, he turned back.

Elizabeth heard the same sound, and when Fitzwilliam turned back, so did she.

“Mary!” Picking up her skirts, Elizabeth scurried to her sister. Fitzwilliam got to her first, and as he helped Mary to her feet, Elizabeth grabbed her sister’s free arm. “Are you well? What happened?”

“I tripped on something.” Mary looked over her shoulder. “I do not know what. I suppose I should have glanced up earlier, but by the time I thought about it, I was already falling.” She brushed at her pelisse, knocking some small twigs and leaves off.

“Oh, Mary,” Elizabeth scolded. She began to brush the dirt off her sister’s clothes as she spoke. “You must watch where you walk. I would not wish to see you hurt.” The gown and pelisse as clean as Elizabeth could make them, she stood straight again, pulling her sister into a hug. “You frightened me for a second. Are you certain you are well?”

Mary hugged Elizabeth back. They did not often have these kinds of moments, and Mary was going to enjoy every second of it. “I am, I promise.” When Elizabeth let go and Fitzwilliam handed her book back to her, Mary continued, “I will be more careful in the future. I am sorry for frightening you.” She thanked Fitzwilliam for his assistance and then asked how much further they were going to walk.

“We can turn around now, if you wish, Miss Mary. Is that not correct, Elizabeth?”

“It is indeed! Would you rather we return to Longbourn, Mary?”

“Oh, no! I confess I would enjoy sitting on one of those big rocks while I read. They hold the warmth of the sun so well.”

“Then I say we carry on. Fitzwilliam, do you agree?”

“Absolutely.”

With those words, the trio continued on, spending no short amount of time at the top of Oakham Mount, in conversation and private contemplation.

~~~***~~~

That afternoon, the gentlemen went about the estate and the tenant farms to survey the conditions of the fences, drainage, and so on, and the ladies, Elizabeth included, sewed, adding to the number of items she had in her trousseau. While she worked, Elizabeth pondered her betrothed, and what she knew of him. While she was determined to have him, she still longed for love and wished to know if he was someone she could, eventually, come to feel such a strong emotion for.

He was very kind to Mary today, she thought. And it was not planned. He could not have known she would trip and fall. His concern for her was genuine. She looked at Georgiana, who was diligently applying herself to her sampler, under the guidance of Miss Smith. It was the same care I have seen him give to his own sister. This speaks well of him, I think. He is respectful of his father, but I would expect that from anyone, and, despite his words yesterday morning, he has never treated my mother or sisters with anything other than gentleness and respect. As Papa said in his letter, I already know his character. If he continues on this path, perhaps I will come to love him someday. Satisfied with her conclusions, Elizabeth turned her attention back to the chatter of the other ladies.

~~~***~~~

I’d love to hear what you think! Please consider leaving me a comment! 🙂

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Writer’s Journal: Self-care update

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

Here we are, at the end of January. Two days ago, I walked around the yard and noted the daffodils beginning to peek their heads out of the ground. Today, there’s something like six inches of snow. Needless to say, I’m unhappy about it, which leads me to this post.

A couple months ago, I wrote about taking care of ourselves, particularly as creative people. I, like many others, am susceptible to seasonal depression, and for the first time ever in my life, I have taken the bull by the horns and dealt with it instead of trying to ignore it, as I have done every other winter.

Here’s what I did, and how successful it’s been for me.

First, I recommitted to spending time with God every single day. Have I been successful? Largely, yes. I still find it impossible to spend that time before I go somewhere, but since I’m at home the majority of the time, I can get it in. For instance, I’ve been a week and a half getting that time in every day. This coming Saturday, I’m going to an RWA meeting, assuming it’s not snowing. So, Saturday, I will not get God time, because I have to leave my house at the butt crack of dawn to get to Cleveland before ten o’clock. However, I will pick it back up on Monday (I count church as God time on Sundays.)

Second, I began taking Vitamin D. Lots of Vitamin D. I started with one small dose, and when it didn’t seem to help, a friend suggested I do some research. Sure enough, I had to take big doses to get it to work. I currently take 2400 IU, 1200 in the morning and 1200 at supper. I was amazed at how well this worked. I feel very good most days, though I still have the down days. Often, I can tell if I have forgotten to take the D at supper. I always make sure I have gotten it in before bed, though.

Thirdly, I bought a diffuser and something like six kinds of essential oils. The diffuser runs via battery or USB. As I type this, it sits on top of the printer to my left, though it’s not currently running. This works pretty well, but not as dramatically as the Vitamin D. Also, the lavender scent, as much as I love it, plays a bit of havoc with my allergies, so I try to limit that one a bit.

Lastly, exercise. This is the one that has not been used much, sadly. As a matter of fact, I’ll even say it’s not been used nearly enough. I have a treadmill and paid for a tv upgrade to whole-home DVR.  I have not an excuse in the world for not getting on the thing, and yet, I don’t. sigh

In general, I can report that this has been the best winter season for me in years. Has it all been sunshine and roses? No. I have had hours and even days where I was paralyzed with depression. However, I now have a list of things that I can do to lift me out of it. I have trained myself to stop and think about that list instead of wallowing in my misery. It has made for a much easier and more productive season. 🙂

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Unknown Betrothal #7

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Here’s another excerpt of my new Regency story. Mr. Gardiner was required to climb Oakham Mount just before this. While it’s undoubtedly a small hill, for a gentleman (or tradesman) unused to such activity, it’s a bit of a hike! 😉

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? And, that the Thursday posts are expanded for my patrons, who get a whole chapter?

~~~***~~~

Elizabeth stared out over the view she loved so much with tears in her eyes. How could he say those things? Was I so wrong about him? I don’t want to live the rest of my life with a man who thinks so little of me and my family. These thoughts and others raced through her mind on a continuous loop, until she thought she might go mad. Lost in her reflections and the remnants of her anger, she didn’t hear her uncle as he walked up to her. She jumped when he touched her arm.

“Lizzy.” Gardiner was out of breath from the walk. He was not accustomed to such exercise.

“Oh, Uncle!” Elizabeth pressed her hand to her chest. “You startled me.”

“I am sorry,” Gardiner replied. “I was certain you would have heard my wheezing as I approached.” He gestured to the wide boulder. “Might I sit with you a while?”

“Certainly!” Elizabeth scooted over to make room and waited for her uncle to settle himself. Finally, when he seemed to be comfortable, she spoke again. “What brings you all the way up here?”

Sighing, Gardiner began. “I heard your argument with young Darcy, as did his father.”

“And you are here to speak to me about it. I assume Mr. Darcy is speaking to his son, as well?” Elizabeth could not help the tiny bit of bitterness in her question.

“He is, as a matter of fact.”

“Hmph.”

“Lizzy,” Gardiner sighed. He hated that he was the one tasked with this. His wife was much better in these sorts of situations. Still, it fell upon him and it was not in his nature to shrink back from unpleasant things. “I am not certain I know where to begin. You and Fitzwilliam had an argument.  These things happen from time to time. Lord knows, Maddie and I have had our fair share. I heard what he said to you, and cringed when he did, knowing how … ugly his words were and how you would react. Which you did, by the way; you reacted exactly as I imagined you would.”

He paused for a moment as his niece let out a soft snort and trained her gaze once more on the landscape spread before them. “I am going to say something here, and I want you to listen to all of it before you speak. Will you do that for me?”

Flattening her lips into a displeased line for just a moment, Elizabeth reluctantly gave her assent. “Yes.”

Nodding once, Gardiner continued. “Young Darcy should not have spoken as he did, but he was not incorrect in his observations. You know this. If you look into your heart, you will see that he spoke the truth. Your mother and younger sisters are largely unchecked. As much as I liked your father, I have never agreed with his indolence in regards to the raising of his children. I suppose that had he a son, he might have done differently, but I have my doubts about it. However, that is neither here nor there. The issue at hand is your argument with your betrothed.

“He was wrong to say what he did, in the manner he did, but you were wrong, as well. You responded in an intemperate manner that bordered on vicious. You let your anger get away from you.”

~~~***~~~

I’d love to hear what you think! Please consider leaving me a comment! 🙂

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