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The Melody of a Story!

May 17, 2016

The written word is like music to my soul. It can stir your emotions to great heights, inspire, and challenge you to think, put a smile on your face or perhaps leave you with a bit of melancholy. Just as a musician paints a story by the way he writes his music, the author writes the melody of his innermost being and leaves it on the written page for us to read. 

In Darcy’s Melody, Elizabeth Bennet and Georgiana Darcy meet through their mutual love of music. This is the story of how music and friendship bring two families together, challenging Fitzwilliam Darcy to embrace a new melody within his heart.

A preview from the first chapter of Darcy’s Melody is now appearing in the forum thread called A New Story Posting. Below you will find a visual preview of my tale. The stills are taken from the Pride and Prejudice 1995 Movie, while the Deryshire photos were shot by author, Florence Nicolaï. I shall be posting Darcy’s Melody in its entirety on this forum before publishing. If you are currently not a member, please feel free to register and login. See you in the threads!

Jen Red  ♫  Click HERE to see a preview of Darcy’s Melody on YouTube. 

Lizzy and Georgiana 1small

Author Trivia! ♫

Just for fun, I decided to interview some of our authors on DarcyandLizzy.com to find out what kind of music inspires their muse. Here is what I discovered.  ~ Jen ♫

Aleksandra – Ola Wegner: “I love all kinds of music from Classical to Film Soundtracks, then Country Music, Jazz, Broadway, Rock, and Opera. It’s kind of like reading. I love a little bit of everything, although oddly enough, I’m not much on Romance.”
Aureader – Rose Fairbanks:  “I like to write with the 2005 P&P Sound track playing in the background.  After that, it’s usually Disney Theme Songs.”
Brenda – Brenda Webb: “Country, country, & more country! Eddie Rabbit was my all-time favorite singer, Eddie Rabbit -I Can’t Help Myself  along with John Schneider (Bo Duke on Dukes of Hazzard) as a close second.”  John Schneider- A Memory Like You  
Kay Kay’s Quill – Kathy Langenstein Berlin:  “I’m a Hard Rock kind of girl, especially when I am driving my 2015 Mustang. What does that have to do with my muse, you ask? I work out dialogue and complex scenes while driving. Bizarre, I know, because my JAFF is Regency, not modern. When I move to my office and my computer for both my full-time job and my Darcy and Elizabeth story, I also move to Jazz, which is my version of white noise. Today, though, it will be all Prince, in the same way that several days were devoted to David Bowie not too long ago.”
Klnba – Zoe Burton:  “I can’t have any noise when I write, so I don’t play music at that time. I do love Country. George Strait is my favorite, though I have many songs and artists that I love.” 
Leenieb1- Lennie Brown:  “Oh this is a hard question! I LOVE music! Let’s see, when writing, I need music that is instrumental … no words allowed. I prefer that it be soothing and have the right feel or mood for what I might be working on, but that doesn’t always happen.”
Liedermadchen – Natalie Richards:  “As for inspirational music, I prefer tunes that are more on the mellow side while writing so that I won’t be distracted by the sudden urge to dance a reel. Christina Perri’s Arms comes to mind, Ella Fitzgerald & Loius Armstrong’s You Can’t Take That Away From Me and Dream a Little Dream of Me, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Nora Jones & the soundtracks for The Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice are others.”
Lindablanche – Linda Tremblay Blanchette:  “I don’t use music to fuel my muse as I always write without anything on. But, to get rid of writer’s block, I usually play Classic Rock or Pop like Journey, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Madonna, Prince etc.”
Lis – Lis Batten:  “I do like some modern composers and Mark Knopfler and his record Sailing to Philadelphia is one of my favorites. I’ve always liked Classical Music ever since my music teacher introduced our class to Tchaikovsky’s Overture of 1812 when I was 11 years old. Then many years ago, I watched the film Somewhere in Time and have never forgotten that music. I particularly like Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Mgtiffy – Maureen Grinter:  “I like everything from Classical, Rock n’ Roll, Pop, Scottish Pipe Bands, but I guess what fuels my muse when I’m sitting at the computer writing, is music from Westlike, My favorite singer is John Farnham. I used to play the drum in the Air League Drum Band, and to this day when I hear that music, it makes me want to join in.”
PlaineJane27 – Ivy May Stuart:  “I love Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald and then throw in some early Blues, Stephane Grappelli (Jazz Violin), Maroon Five, Corrine Baily Rae, and the list goes on.”
Rainbowpromise – Annette Wristen:  “Music is important to me though I can’t say that any certain type inspires my muse. For example when writing Chocolate, Curls & Dragons, I listened to a variety of YouTube fan videos that included Darcy clips. It’s Raining Men comes to mind. When writing Short of the Truth the song of choice was from Jars of Clay – Show you the Love. Currently I’m working on a Victorian novel so I listen to Viennese Waltzes.”
Rhae52 – Rhonda Aldridge:  “I always have a song playing in my head when thinking of certain scenes. In the final scenes of Take Me Home the song that played through my head was God Bess the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts. Of course, the title for TMH  came directly from Johnny Cash’s song by the same name because it was my little man’s favorite. When I think of the relationship between Will and Connor, the song Dare You by Hardwell feat/Michael Koma comes to mind. Then between Will and Lizzy, You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate or Im Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. The list goes on. Needless to say, Music is a very powerful force in shaping my muse.”
 Muzio Clementi piano belonging to Jane Austen
 Muzio Clementi square fortepiano belonging to Jane Austen, 1815

 

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post. Please feel free to leave your comments and tell me what kind of music inspires you below.
Till next time, Jen Red ♫

  Brother, can you spare a dime? + An Announcement

Announcement

It has been said that all good things must come to an end, and I have found that adage to be true. Today, it is with a sad heart that I announce I am leaving Austen Authors. I began my journey with this group unsure if I could handle the duties of my forum, DarcyandLizzy.Com, write books and be a part of this wonderful group in light of my health concerns and my obligations to an older member of my family. Still, for over a year I managed to do it all and had a great time in the bargain!

Alas, nothing ever stays the same and as things have changed, I found that is no longer the case. Thus, I have decided to concentrate on my forum and what I really enjoy—writing. Though I will no longer be a part of this lovely group, I shall always appreciate the opportunity to participate that Sharon and Regina gave me.

I am not leaving JAFF and I will continue to support my friends at Austen Authors in every way possible. Hopefully, I will still see many of you on the forum and our Facebook pages.

Hugs and the best of luck to one and all!

Brenda

~~~~~~***~~~~~~

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME!

One thing I love about writing Regency stories is that you learn a lot doing research. A new term I came across while I was writing Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept was money box. Like most, I had heard of a piggybank, but I had not heard the term money box. It seems both of these names were used during different periods in time, though the term money box was used most often until the late 19th century.

After reading about them, I went in search of pictures, and it quickly became evident that common money boxes of the early 1800’s were just plain ugly. Still, I decided to incorporate a money box into my latest story and share some of the pictures and information with you.

Pottery-money-box Tudor-Green-Ware
Pottery-money-box Tudor-Green-Ware

The practice of collecting coins by putting them in ceramic vessels dates back to ancient China. At some point, a clever bureaucrat must have figured out that using ceramic jars with a small slit near the top as their only

Crude yellow clay Money box 16th century
Crude yellow clay Money box 16th century

opening would ensure all taxes collected would be turned over to the tax authority. The populace dropped their taxes (coins) into the jar, and once finished, the collector had only to deliver the coin-filled jar.

By the Tudor period, the practice of ceramic boxes had spread to England where they were called money boxes or money jars. We most often think of a box as a square or rectangular container, but in its earliest meaning, a

box was a receptacle made of any material, in any shape, which held drugs, perfumes or valuables. Therefore, it was perfectly logical to call the pottery vessels in which coins were kept money boxes.

During the Regency period, a wide range of money boxes

16th or 17th Century Money Box
16th or 17th Century Money Box

were still in use, primarily by servants and their children. They were cheaply produced, of various shapes and sizes, but typically 10-15 cm tall and round, usually glazed in brown or green, had a penny sized slot cut into them and a characteristic ‘knob’ molded on top. Nearly all servants used one to hold spare coins collected over the course of the year. By tradition, on Boxing Day, they would smash the box and use the money to enjoy themselves and buy a new box for the coming year. For that reason, these money boxes were also known as Christmas boxes and rattling boxes.

Boxes were also purchased by the middle and lower classes as gifts for babies and young children.

It was customary for a parent or god-parent to give a baby a money box into which they placed a few

1586 -1603 English Money Box
1586 -1603 Money Box 

coins to start the child’s savings. Each year, on the child’s birthday or name day, family and friends might make gifts of coins which would be dropped into the child’s money box.

Dutch Delft Dog circa 1700
Dutch Delft Dog circa 1700

As they got older, children might also earn a few coins from time to time which they also slipped into their money box. Typically, the money box was entrusted to the child’s mother, who would safeguard it and present it to the child when they came of age. Though it seems the upper classes seldom bothered with money boxes, it is always possible that a doting and/or eccentric relative might give a more expensive money box to a child and slip coins into it each year on that child’s birthday as well.

Because the nature of the money box dictated it had to be destroyed to access the coins, most were made quickly and sold cheaply. Making square or rectangular objects was more labor-intensive; thus, for centuries most were made in the shape of simple jars with a small finial or button on the top. By the turn of the eighteenth century, potters began making them domed-shaped with decorated surfaces. After being coated with a yellow glaze, these pineapple-shaped boxes sold well, and with the use of simple designs, colored glazes and cheap child labor, many potters developed a steady business.

With the advent of ceramic molding, various shapes became inexpensive to create; thus, chicken shaped boxes were turned out in great numbers. Having a palette of white, yellow, red and brown glazes, they looked quite realistic. Then, as the nineteenth century began, dogs, cats, cows, sheep, elephants and lions joined the line-up. Buildings, primarily ceramic cottages and castles, were available at the beginning of the Regency period and by 1820, were increasingly more elaborate and expensive. Afterward, they were purchased more for household ornaments than for vessels in which to save money.

Very few money boxes have survived since they were smashed when their owner wanted the coins contained within, but I have included some photos of the nicer and more interesting ones below—some from other countries.

A Fabergé silver money box, Moscow, 1908-1917, the lid inset with 1 poltina silver coin of Empress Anna Ioannovna (dated 1732), the sides with trompe l'oeil casket straps, gilt interior
A Fabergé silver money box, Moscow, 1908-1917, the lid inset with 1 poltina silver coin of Empress Anna Ioannovna (dated 1732), the sides with trompe l’oeil casket straps, gilt interior

 

A rare English earthenware pottery stoneware saltglaze money bank.  Decorated with relief molded images of a portly gentleman with a tankard of frothing ale, windmills and dogs. The side of the box has an image of a huntsman on horse chasing a fox.
A rare English earthenware pottery stoneware saltglaze money bank. Decorated with relief molded images of a portly gentleman with a tankard of frothing ale, windmills and dogs. The side of the box has an image of a huntsman on horse chasing a fox.

Money Box Heads

Early Staffordshire Money Box Heads In the early 19th century, circa 1820, these were a tuppence a ton, widely made and given to children to encourage savings. However, as the only way to get the money out was to smash them, not many have survived.

~~~~~***~~~~~

Did you have a piggybank when you were a child and, if so, did you save for a specific purpose? I remember saving my money for our summer vacations and how thrilling it was to buy a souvenir that I selected. It would take several days before I would choose which one I simply had to have! How about you? Do you have any piggybank memories to share? I’d love to hear about them.

Information in this post came in part from: regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/pottery-money-boxes-of-the-regency/  and www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Piggy_Bank

Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept + a giveaway!

RE-POSTED FROM AUSTEN AUTHORS

As the readers of my books know, I am not one of those writers who can write quickly. In that regard, I proudly claim to be like Mr. Darcy who so famously said to Caroline, “You are mistaken. I write rather slowly.”

It takes me about a year to write a book and longer than that to get it ready for publication, so today, I am happy to announce the publication of my next novel Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept which is available on Amazon and Create Space.

Here’s a synopsis of the story.

Five years after his disastrous proposal at Kent, Fitzwilliam Darcy receives a letter from Charles Bingley regarding a promise he made when their friendship ended. Should Darcy decide to keep the promise, it will throw him into the company of the one woman he has struggled for years to forget—Elizabeth Bennet. 

Having just entered a secret agreement with Lady Markham, will Darcy put his future in jeopardy by stepping in to help Bingley? Has time and distance helped him overcome his regard for Elizabeth, or will he fall as madly in love with her as before?

Is true love to be found in a promise kept?

I hope I’ve piqued your interest. Take a look at the cover. I love it!

 

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I shared part of the first chapter in a previous post and the entire chapter in our Writers Block, so you can read them there if you haven’t already. Still, I wanted to share a little more of the story in honor of its publication, so here’s an excerpt from Chapter Seven:

As William waited in the library for the butler to locate Jane Bingley, he perused the titles on a bookcase that covered the entire west wall. Impressed with the collection, he surmised that the estate must have come with the furnishings, since everything seemed much as it was when he and Bingley toured the house years ago, and a well-stocked library was not one of Charles’ priorities. Then, too, Lord Norton had deliberated renting the property because he had two other estates, so William felt reasonably certain that the man would not have taken the majority of the books with him when the estate sold, if any.

Caught up in his observations, William was unaware that Elizabeth had entered the room behind him. Since she was not expecting him to be at the Bingleys’ residence that day, she did not see him either, and turned in the opposite direction. Even so, he was alerted to her presence when she began humming a tune he remembered from his childhood—Lavender’s Blue.

The minute he spied her, his breath caught. Only once had he seen her hair in its present style—at a picnic Charles had hosted at Netherfield. The sides were pulled up and tied with long, pink satin ribbons, the ends of which were now entwined in the dark curls that cascaded down her back. As his eyes followed her lithe frame across the room, he was tortured by thoughts of how it would feel to replace the ribbons with his fingers. Thoroughly dismayed at the path his thoughts had taken, William tried to picture Millie’s hair worn in the same fashion, but could not.   

In Elizabeth’s hands were several books, and, once she reached a small, round table, she laid them there. Then she walked down an identical wall of bookshelves until she found a library chair. Sliding this object along the floor until it was where she wished it to be, she flipped the chair over, revealing four built-in steps. Then, taking the top book from the stack, she lifted her skirts and put one dainty foot on the bottom step. Since she wore simple slippers and no stockings, William had a good view of her left ankle and leg clear to the knee. Instantly aware that he should have announced his presence before now, his heart began to race. Still, in light of the circumstances, he was incapable of speech.

Unfortunately, Jane Bingley chose that moment to rush into the room. “Mr. Darcy, I had no idea you would come today! It was only yesterday that I sent the express.”

At the sound of Jane’s voice, Elizabeth’s head swung around. Finding William staring in her direction, she dropped her skirts and lifted her chin, giving him a stern glare.

Thoroughly embarrassed, William turned to Jane, stuttering a reply. “I . . . I was preparing to leave for Pemberley, but your letter gave me the impression that you were frightened; thus, I came here first.”

By then, Elizabeth had walked towards them. Jane’s eyes went wide when she realised that her sister had heard everything. Before she could speak, however, Elizabeth said impatiently, “You were frightened, Jane, yet you did not think to tell me?”

Jane’s hands flew to her face, and she began to cry, and Elizabeth pulled her sister into an embrace, patting her back. 

“Please do not cry, dearest. I was only wounded that you did not feel that you could confide in me. I want to know when anything is amiss. In your condition, you should not carry burdens alone. 

“It is not that I felt I could not confide in you. It is just—” Jane stopped to pull a handkerchief from her pocket and dab at her eyes. Looking from her sister to William, she said, “Let us sit down, and I will tell you both what has transpired. 

Minutes later, Jane had shared a letter from Kitty that had arrived a week earlier. That letter had informed her that a strange man had been seen in Meryton asking about the former occupants of Longbourn. More particularly, he had visited that property and spoken to Mr. Collins, presenting himself as an old friend of Mr. Bennet. Upon being informed of the calamity that had befallen their parents, he enquired as to whether the daughters were all well. He also wanted to know whether they had married and where each lived. Only the arrival of Charlotte Collins from a quick jaunt into Meryton cut short the rector’s long-winded recitation of each sister’s fate before he got to Elizabeth. Charlotte, being more wary than her husband, had informed Kitty of the man’s inquisitiveness the next day. Nonetheless, by the time Kitty asked for the man’s whereabouts in the village, he had slipped away.  

Already planning a visit, the following day Kitty travelled to the nearby village of Compton where James Parton, Mary’s husband, was the vicar. Immediately upon arrival, Kitty informed Mary of the strange man in Meryton. Consequently, Mary related a similarly odd occurrence. It seemed that a stranger had come by the parish in search of counselling only the week before, and his conversation had swiftly moved from his own concerns to assertions that he knew Mary’s father years ago. When he enquired as to how the sisters had fared since their parents’ untimely deaths, the vicar mentioned that Kitty had married Harvey Thomas, a law clerk, and still lived in Meryton. When he asked about Elizabeth specifically, Mr. Parton became suspicious and sent him on his way. 

Once Jane had finished reading, the room was eerily silent. The look on William’s face was enough to convince her that he was contemplating the situation before commenting. Elizabeth, however, had no such reluctance and attempted to make light of it all.  

“Surely asking about our family is scarcely a reason to think that anyone means to do us harm? On the contrary, Papa had many good friends from university, and upon hearing of the circumstances of his death, why would they not profess an interest in our welfare?” 

Jane was about to answer, when William retorted, “I am afraid that I cannot agree, Mrs. Gardiner. One incident may be logical.  Two is suspect.”

Apparently still angry that he had not made his presence known earlier, Elizabeth snapped, “Mr. Darcy, you may be in charge of all our finances, but you are not in charge of my life! Surely I have a right to live without fear of every person who asks after me.”

“Lizzy,” Jane said, “you have no right to talk to Mr. Darcy in that manner.” 

William held up a hand. “Please. Let her say what she wishes; that is her prerogative.”

“I wanted to spare you the worst of it, Lizzy, but I see that I simply cannot,” Jane said wearily. “Mayhap you will change your tone after hearing this.” Reaching into her pocket, she withdrew another missive. Holding it out to William, she said, “This arrived yesterday morning and was what prompted the express.”  

William took the paper, his brows furrowing as he read what was written thereon. I know the secret about your sister and that child. 

Seeing his expression darken, Elizabeth asked, “What does it say?” 

Looking up, he locked eyes with hers. “Do you not think it time I was told the truth?”  

Not able to meet his gaze, Elizabeth looked away.

“He has earned the right to know, Lizzy.”

Purchase links for Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept:

KINDLEAND

PAPERBACKNow, for the fun part! I’m giving away four Kindle e-book copies. If you leave a comment by midnight Friday April 15, CST, you’ll be included in the drawing. I hope you win, and it takes your mind off your taxes!

Who You Really Are?

Posted on Austen Authors on by • And Shared on this Blog!

After my last blog post, I heard from so many fellow writers, and a good many friends, who said that they were introverts, too. Many came as a surprise, especially among the writers I know and admire. In hindsight, I fear that I assumed that most writers were extroverts because of their ability to promote themselves and their books so well. Now I know that is not always the case.

However, having so many of my fellow authors claim they are introverts made me wonder how many well-known writers were, too. I looked for a list, but found that writers were always included as part of a larger list of famous introverts. After reading dozens of lists, J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss and Edgar Allan Poe were the only authors who were mentioned repeatedly. Below are just a few other famous introverts that were listed:

Clint Eastwood  Bill Gates  Abraham Lincoln  Audrey Hepburn  Eleanor Roosevelt  Sir Isaac Newton  Albert Einstein  Meg Ryan

Mahatma Gandhi  Laura Bush  Rosa Parks  Warren Buffet  Roy Rogers  Marilyn Monroe  Tom Hanks  Candice Bergen

George Stephanopoulos  Johnny Carson  Harper Lee

Best Day Ever

While I was researching introverts and extroverts, I found that you are not just one or the other. There are a number of variations of each and personality tests that will reveal which type you are.

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, first published their test, the MBTI, in 1962, after studying the work of Carl Jung since the 1940s. Jung believed everyone experiences the world through four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking and that one is dominant most of the time. Katharine and Isabel gave his theory a practical application: to help women entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs that would be “most comfortable and effective” for them.

Here is a chart that shows the different personality types on the MBTI:

MBTItypeChart Larger

And here are what the letters stand for:

The first letter is for introvert (I) or extrovert (E).

Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

I thought it might be fun to use this information to categorize some of our favorite Austen characters, and luckily came across this MBTI chart with the characters in Pride and Prejudice already done.

pride and prejudice personality chart larger

I think it hard to pin-point everyone precisely, but I cannot agree with some of these. For instance, Caroline is ISFJ which is ‘amiable and ready to sacrifice?’ I don’t picture Caroline as either of these. Georgiana is classed as ENFP, which is an extrovert and described as ‘life of the party?’ And Mr. Collins, who is ISTP, does not impress me as someone who is unpretentious—not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.

I do think it fascinating that Darcy and Lizzy are alike except when it comes down to T or P. Darcy thinks while Lizzy feels. What do you think? Do you agree with the type assigned to your favourite character? I would love to hear your opinion!

Meanwhile, if you wonder what type personality you are, there is a free MBTI test at this link. Free Personality Test

A more in-depth test can be had for a fee at the Briggs and Meyer Foundation. Myers Briggs Foundation

 

A Real Writer? Plus a preview of my next book!

funny-dog-writer-animal-wallpapers

Shared from Austen Authors blog

I confess I do not fit many people’s idea of what a real writer should be. Snoopy-the-writerMy confession may sound odd coming from someone who has published three books, has two more in the works, and belongs to Austen Authors, however, I got to where I am today by the hardest route— kicking and screaming all the way.

You see, I am an introvert. I would like nothing better than to crawl in a cave and write, emerging only to publish whenever I finish a book. Alas, in today’s world, there are so many people publishing, especially those new to JAFF, it seems one has to at least try to promote their books in order to sell them. And, since sales of my books are important to my livelihood, I had no choice but to crawl out of my cave!

Why don’t I consider myself writer material? The main reason is that I am not comfortable tooting my own horn. I was raised in an age when one did not self-promote. That makes it difficult for me to boast of good reviews and accolades. Moreover, I SMspend more time on FB talking to the people I went to school with than posting writer stuff. While I am on Twitter, I only tweet the articles on Austen Authors and the things happening on DarcyandLizzy.com. So, I have a long way to go using social media.

Don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with promoting yourself and your books, but when I read about all the things my fellow writers are doing—writing seminars, ‘how to’ programs, dictating devices, special book writing apps, giving lectures, exhaustive research, JAFF organization meetings, to name a few—it makes me tired just thinking about it. At my age, I need to use all my focus to get the stories in my mind on paper while I can still remember them. smiles

While every person has their own way of writing, I stick with the basics. This means pulling up a Word document, thinking up alarge_You_know_you_re_a_writerunique plot, and getting started. Fortunately, I have never had problems imagining plots, and once I begin a tale, I cannot wait to get the story written.

I plan to publish my current story, Darcy and Elizabeth, A Promise Kept,in late February or early March, so be on the lookout for it. For those who aren’t following my posts on DarcyandLizzy.com, there is an excerpt below from the first chapter. I hope you will enjoy this little taste of my latest book. Let me know what you think!

 

 

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Excerpt from Chapter One of Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept

William nodded and turned back to the windows. Millicent waited until the colonel was completely out of sight and then surreptitiously studied the man she had always loved, who by now was watching some horses frolic in a distant pasture. While his eyes were glued to the bucolic scene, he sipped a glass of brandy.

“A penny for your thoughts.”

Sighing deeply before he answered, William said, “I was thinking of Georgiana and wondering how she is faring now that she and Lord Charlton have settled in Ireland.”

“Are you worried about the marriage? I thought you approved of him.”

“I had no choice but to approve. Though I was not a great admirer of his late father, I could find no evidence that the son was not a gentleman in every sense of the word. None of my friends had anything bad to say about him, either. Still, I tried to persuade Georgiana to continue the engagement another year, just to be certain. She refused.”

“One and twenty is not too young to know your heart or to marry, Fitzwilliam, and, thanks largely to you, Georgiana has always been sensible.”

“I suppose you are right.”

Hoping to persuade him before Richard’s return, she broached the subject of staying longer. “Can I not convince you to wait until the end of the week to return to Pemberley? With the children at their grandmother’s estate, the house will be entirely too quiet after you leave.”

Glancing at her sideways, William said, “I thought your cousins were staying.”

“They are; however, they are not my idea of stimulating company. I fear that I shocked them when I chose to ride to the hounds alongside the men.”

William could not suppress a grin. “Perhaps that is because a lady is expected to ride side-saddle.”

“Then I suppose I am not a lady! And make no mistake—my cousins will lecture me about my misconduct until the day they leave.” Then she grinned. “And you, sir, have managed to change the subject. Will you not at least stay long enough to see the children?”

“I cannot possibly stay. There are issues that require my attention at Pemberley.”

“Why ever not? Lord knows you pay your stewards well to handle your estates. And you will just bury yourself in work at Pemberley—anything to keep from participating in the real business of life.”

“I have no idea what you mean.”

“I thought you abhorred deceit, Fitzwilliam! For years I have had to threaten to have Richard bring you against your will; otherwise, you would never have left your cave. Will you just admit that you enjoyed yourself once you arrived?”

“I was pleased to be in both your company and my cousin’s, and I enjoyed participating in the hunt,” William replied. Pensively, he took another sip of brandy before continuing. “I cannot say I enjoyed being on display again.”

“What do you expect? You are one of the most eligible men in all of England and will always garner the attention of parents with unmarried daughters. And the widows cannot help but flaunt themselves at you, praying to catch your eye.”

“I am only interested in one widow, and she will not agree to marry me.”

Millicent turned to examine William’s face for a certain truth. Not finding it, she walked over to a nearby chair and sat down. Wearily she said, “We have had this conversation far too many times.”

“Just because I am not madly in love with you does not mean we would not do well together. My father was of the opinion that friendship should outweigh love when two people speak of marriage. He and Mother were only friends when they married.”

“You were not formed for a marriage of convenience, Fitzwilliam, and marrying me would be exactly that. Besides, I am of the opinion that the heartache which permeates you so deeply is the result of an unrequited love.”

William’s brows knit as his voice rose. “As I have tried to tell you time and again, I have suffered no such heartache.”  

I am currently posting this story on the forum, so you may click on the Pink Button, Top Right to go there to read it.

RESOLVING NOT TO RESOLVE! (shared from Austen Authors)

New Year's Resolutions in 1966

 

Early 20th-century New Year's resolution postcards

Early 20th-century New Year’s resolution postcards

Have you already broken your New Year’s resolutions? I confess that I haven’t! Of course, that’s simply because I never made any. I used to make resolutions when I was younger, but then I realized I lacked the “want to” to follow through. The cartoon below represents my current way of dealing with those who ask if I’ve made any resolutions.

Hobbs pic

Still, after seeing so many mentions of resolutions in social media, some posted by my fellow Austen Authors, I began to wonder why the tradition began and when? Here’s some of what I learned.

It seems the Babylonians made promises to their gods in March of each year. BabylonOddly, their resolutions had to do with returning borrowed objects and paying their debts. Now, those are resolutions I could get behind! And, with any luck, the neighbor who borrows all our tools would be reminded to return them at least once a year!

Then came the Romans, who began each year by making promises to the god Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards towards the old year and forwards into the new. Their resolutions had a moral flavor: mostly to be good to others. This seems odd to me since they spent so much time conquering and plundering so many countries, but who am I to judge.

Janus

Janus

Then, when the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. Christians chose to observe the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1st in place of the revelry indulged in by those who did not share the faith.

Supposedly, medieval knights had their own version of the New Year’s resolution called The Vow of the Peacock or of The Pheasant. One by one, during the last feast of the Christmas week, they would place their hands on a live or roasted peacock, brought in with great pomp in a large vessel of gold or silver by a bevy of ladies. It was presented to each in turn, and each madePeacock vow his vow to recommit themselves, for the next twelve months, to the ideals of chivalry. Afterward the bird was set upon the table to be divided amongst all present. The flesh of the peacock (or of the pheasant) according to the old romances, was the peculiar diet of valiant knights and heart-stricken lovers. Charles Dickens wrote about these oaths in a Victorian periodical he founded, All the Year Round.

The tradition has other religious parallels. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Jews reflect upon their wrongdoings and both seek and offer forgiveness. Christians act similarly during Lent, although the motive is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the practice of New Year’s resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect annually upon how one can improve oneself.

I searched for lists of the most common resolutions, lists of which resolutions were most often broken and the length of time most resolutions were kept. Here they are in order:

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015

  1. Lose weight and get fit
  2. Get organized
  3. Get out of debt and save money
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Eat healthier and diet
  6. Learn something new
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others achieve their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Lose weight and get fit
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Learn something new
  4. Eat healthier and diet
  5. Get out of debt and save money
  6. Spend more time with family
  7. Travel to new places
  8. Be less stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

Length most resolutions are kept (enough said)

  1. One week – 75%
  2. Two weeks – 71%
  3. One month – 64%
  4. Six months – 46%

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Finally, I saw this meme and thought these resolutions had a lot of merit even if vacuum is misspelled, so I am sharing it with you!

My dogs recs

Now, since I confessed that I stink at keeping resolutions, I wondered about you? Am I the only one? Does something have you buffaloed? For me it was and is exercising more.Exercise

If there’s something that has you intimidated, would you be willing to admit it? Remember confession is good for the soul. And, for those who obviously have their act together because they keep their resolutions, here is your chance to brag in the comments! I hope you will.

Information for this post came from: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2040218_2040220_2040221,00.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_resolution And http://billpetro.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions

 

 

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