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Catching up with Linda Blanchette & Giveaway!

Today we are featuring author Linda Blanchette Tremblay and offering you a chance to win one of two copies of any of her books just for commenting. Details regarding the contest are at the end of this post.

So, without further ado, here is what Linda had to say.

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse? 

I am working on a story called “A brother for Darcy.”  I have often wondered if Darcy and Wickham were brothers, how much of Pride and Prejudice would have changed and a new story was born.  In this story, the Darcys take in a baby Wickham when he loses his parents.  I take the story from the time that Darcy meets young Wickham to when Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth.  All with the question of how would this simple change affect Darcy.

People inspire my muse.  I am a people watcher and love seeing people’s interaction.  It is why I second majored in Sociology. 

What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I read a lot of JAFF before I ever put words down on paper.  I became a plot beta for a friend who is a published writer.  One day, she said that I should write my ideas and stories.  A second career was born.   

I have begun to write a ‘North and South’ story, but I do not know if it will ever see the light of day.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it? Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I adore love stories, and Pride and Prejudice was one of my favorites, but I didn’t know about fanfiction until ten years ago.  One day, I was in a store, and Abigail Reynold’s story was on sale.  In her acknowledgments, she thanked the JAFF world for their help.  It did not take long for me to search those JAFF sites and I became a fervent reader of P &P fanfiction.  

I read them all.  Some I will never read again like those including other pairings than Darcy and Elizabeth or a death of one of them, but I still read them all.  Other JAFF writers inspire me.  We are all different with unique views of Darcy and Elizabeth.  I love reading everyone’s take on our dear couple.

When I am not working, reading or writing, I am your stereotypical grandma.  I cook, sew, knit, crochet, and embroider.  I also travel with my kids and grandkids often.  We rent large houses and vacation together, generally near a beach.  My poor son in law and daughter in law, they are so sweet to allow this to happen.

 
What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?

Since English is my second language, I always have a dictionary and thesaurus beside me when I am writing.  Another favorite resource is Etymology Dictionary which tells you when the word was invented.  I hate for a modern to slip into my Regency story.  My last resource is the Regency Encyclopedia.  Excellent resource if you are writing regency.  It has information for anything from laws to fashion.

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes? 

There have been many.  Whether is a friend or relative or a scene that has happened to me, and I think it would fit in the story.  I put them in.  However, I do change the name and try to keep the scenes vague enough, so they will not learn.  I like to keep my friends and family.

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We at DarcyandLizzy.com hope you have enjoyed hearing from Linda and to celebrate her newest book which was just posted on our forum, The Trails That Led To You, we are offering those of you who leave a comment here a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on the post for this blog on our facebook page.

You have until our next post (we post 15th and 30th) to comment. The winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.

To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love for you to share it on facebook, twitter, or the sites accessed by the buttons below.

A new book from Melanie Schertz and a Giveaway

Recently we caught up with author Melanie Schertz to see what she was doing. We wanted to share what we learned, as well as give you an opportunity to win one of her books. Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post. For your enjoyment, here are the questions we asked Mel and her answers:

What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?

My newest book is Fitzwilliam Darcy, Fugitive but I have several other books on the back burner.

My muse…well, I have a very strange muse.  Sometimes I will see something that just sets off a strange and unique way to play with the story.  Sometimes, when I am writing, something will happen that just makes me go off in a wacky way. One of the most vivid of them was when I had learned the man who I had hired to remodel my kitchen had taken my money and didn’t do any of the work.  I had already hired someone else to remove the old kitchen, so you can imagine my frustration.  That was when I was writing Mystical, Magical Lizzy.  Needless to say, George Wickham ended up paying the price of what I would have liked to have happen to the man who ripped me off.  If you haven’t already read that story, the flooring breaks as Wickham is standing there, and he falls, with a beam coming up between his legs.  He dies later as a certain piece of his manhood became gangrene from the injury.

I must warn you, on this new story, I was watching politics while I was attempting to decide what to do with Mr. Collins and Wickham.  I was not nice to these two men, as they became my object to reflect my frustration.  My daughter tells me that you can tell by the sort of jewelry I make what I was watching on TV or listening to in music.  I believe it is true in my writing as well.  You can see when I am watching something whimsical or something serious. When I am listening to Pink, I feel really empowered.  Love her music.

 What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?

I have been writing off and on over my life. But I never thought I would ever publish a book.  In high school, I was dyslexic, but at that time, there was no knowledge of what that was.  I was just lazy.  I am 54 years old, and self-taught on how to read easier.

I post on my blog, Mel’s JAFF Stories and with DarcyandLizzy.com.

What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?

I got really into JAFF in 2005, after seeing the Matthew Macfadyen movie.  Back then, if we had a new JAFF story a month it was a miracle.  I would check Amazon weekly.  In 2008, I lost my career, and had to begin a new chapter in life.  That is when I started trying to start a photography business.  In 2009-2010, my health went downhill and it wasn’t until 2011, when disabled and frustrated, I began really reading stories on A Happy Assembly and fanfiction.com.  To be honest, I have still don’t know why I began posting my first story but when I did, people actually liked it.  Originally, when I published my first books, it was so I would have copies for my family.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to sell. It wasn’t until after my first 2 books published in 2012 that I told my mother what I was doing, and we lived in the same house at the time.

Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?

I have read a few of the modern versions, but for some reason, I have never been able to write a modern version.  Regency is my all-time fav for JAFF.  There is just something about the time that I am drawn to, even though it was not a kind time for women.  Maybe that is why most of my female characters are a bit more outspoken.

What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing? 

When researching, one of my all-time favorites is Wikipedia.  I have donated money to Wikipedia, as I appreciate their hard work. Another source is Jane Austen based websites which have great resources.  And I ask other JAFF authors.  There are a large group of us who are interconnected and we can go to the group and say “So, what do you think would have been the proper way of dealing with this at the time?” Everyone in the group are great about sharing the info.  Some of the most amazing authors I know I can turn to are Regina Jeffers, Sharon Lathan, Elizabeth Ann West, Joy King, April Floyd, Linda Thompson, Beverley Farr, and more.  And I have an “adopted” sister in England who is a Beta for me and gives me info on British ways in that time period (Thank you Kay Tanner).

Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?

As for people who have inspired traits in characters. I come from a long line of strong women.  My mom, my grandmothers, they were amazing, and I am so thankful for their impact on my life.  My daughter, Caitlin, had a great grandmother, Edith Beazer who became a grandmother to me and her caring, loving nature made a dramatic impact in my life.  She always called Cate her dancing brown-eyed doll, which became the title of my book A Pair of Dancing Brown Eyes, and has my daughter on the cover.  My father was an amazing man, and I learned a lot from life from him.  He would be behind my ideal Mr. Bennet or Uncle Gardiner.  Many of the characters have names from my family.  Helen, who I use for Mrs. Gardiner, was my dad’s mom.  When I use Edwin Gardiner, my great grandfather (my dad’s grandpa) is Edwin.

The dog, Sadie, in A Royal Bennet was based on my sweet service dog Darcy. He is on my lap in this GREAT photo of me (ha ha). However, if you insist on seeing my face, I have attached my most current picture.

 

 

 

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We at DarcyandLizzy.com hope you have enjoyed hearing from Melanie and learned something new. To celebrate her newest book now posting on our forum, Fitzwilliam Darcy – Fugitive, we are offering those of you who leave a comment here a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on the post for this blog on our facebook page.

The drawing will be held two weeks from today, the winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.

To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. It shows “no comments” until the first one is posted and then it will show the number of current comments. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love for you to share it on facebook, twitter, or the sites accessed by the buttons below.

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. and More!

The following post is from DAILY WRITING TIPS website and details the permutations of abbreviations for courtesy titles. I thought it very interesting and hope you will too.

Mister developed as a variant of master. (Interestingly, the newer title came to pertain to married men, while master, once a title of respect for a social superior, was reserved for unmarried men and boys.) Originally, both master and mister were abbreviated Mr. before a person’s name as a courtesy title, but as master fell out of use, Mr. came to be applied solely as an abbreviation for mister.

Mrs. was originally a generic abbreviation of mistress before a name, but it developed into a courtesy title specifically for a married or widowed woman, while Miss, with no abbreviation, was adopted as an honorific for unmarried women. Ms. began as a variant abbreviation of mistress as a courtesy title in the 1600s but fell out of favor. (At the turn of the twentieth century, it was proposed as a substitute form of address for a woman whose marital status is unknown, but the idea did not gain traction, nor did the abbreviation catch on fifty years later when a couple of business publications brought the issue up again. However, after feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem adopted the abbreviation as the title of a new magazine for women in 1972, its use quickly spread.)

Because no native plural form of Mr. or Mrs. developed in English, the French abbreviations Messrs. (Messieurs) and Mmes. (Mesdames) were borrowed; Mses. developed in imitation, and the plural form of Miss, Misses, like the singular form, did not acquire an abbreviation. Because of the decline in use of such honorifics, the plural forms are rarely seen anymore.

As a reference to a man who embodies a certain quality, Mr. appears in such references as “Mr. Right” (the ideal man for a woman to marry) or “Mr. Big” (a man of significant authority and/or status). Missus, a derivative of mistress based on a casual pronunciation of the latter word, and Miz, a spelling based on the pronunciation of Mrs. or Miss in the southern United States, should generally be used only in dialogue in historically or geographically appropriate fiction. However, “the Mrs.” or “the missus,” spelled as shown as humorous references to one’s wife, are appropriate in informal writing.

I hope you learned something new, for I did!

 

Jane Austen – The Melody of an Author

jane-austen-1Today, being Jane Austen’s birthday, 16 December, I would like to pay tribute to a very special woman in the world of literature. I first discovered Jane Austen when I was but a teenager. My mother was a lover of old movies and introduced me and my sister to the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice movie starring Greer Garson and Lawrence Oliver. What could be better than this old black and white with lively music and lighthearted banter between our beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy?

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Little did I know that this old film was just a sneak preview into the world of Jane Austen and the literary works that I would soon come to love and cherish. Following this introduction, I quickly sought out our local used book store to see if I might purchase the original. To my delight, I found a fat anthology containing not only Pride and Prejudice, but all six of Jane Austen’s completed novels.

Our dear Jane was born on 16 December 1775. She was one of eight children (six boys and two girls) born to George and Cassandra Austen during the course of their marriage. Like Elizabeth and Jane from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen was very close to her elder sister Cassandra.

Coming from a family of modest means, Jane did not have the privileges that would have been given to her in a more affluent household such as that of Georgiana Darcy or even Caroline Bingley. Her father was a simple clergyman who not only performed his duties in the ministry, but farmed and often boarded several boys that he tutored for extra income. While Jane and Cassandra did have some schooling outside of the home, from what I can tell, the majority of Jane’s education came from the independent reading she did, guided by her father and brothers, James and Henry.

z-ppJane had long been interested in the written word, and some of her earliest writings can be traced back as far as age eleven. She often wrote stories, poems, and short plays for her family’s amusement, and engaged in family theatricals on a regular basis. We can easily imagine how some of these experiences in Jane’s early life must have stimulated her imagination as well as forming the foundation for much of her writing that we enjoy today.

In this current day and age it is fascinating to be a part of the Jane Austen Fan Fiction culture that hungers for sequels, prequels and adaptations of almost every type based on Jane’s works. While writing my current Work In Progress, Darcy’s Melody, I have taken Austen’s main characters and written them into a new tale which takes place in London, during 1811. Although I could never hope to emulate Jane Austen’s masterful writing, I have thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture the essence of her characters within a genre that is so familiar to me, music. If you have not already done so, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you over to the storyboard to read along as I bring my tale to a close. Enjoy! Jennifer Redlarczyk ♫

PS I would love to know what first drew you to Jane Austen. What is your favorite Austen Book and what is is about JAFF that keeps you hungering for more?

dm

Melody of a Quilt

Melody of a Quilt

What is it about a beautiful handmaid quilt that makes your heart want to sing when you look at it or run your fingers over the seemingly endless stitches that were so lovingly placed throughout? For me it is an appreciation of an art that gives me a connection to the past. My mom, Jean Gibson Kreuser, came from a long line of Kentucky quilters who quilted out of necessity.

Growing up on a small 100 acer farm during the depression, my mom and her sisters used every scrap of fabric they could find in order to make coverings that would keep them warm at night. I remember her telling us stories how they would cut squares out of old shirts, dresses and sometimes even feed sacks to create their quilt tops. When looking in her old trunk, which I viewed more like a treasure chest, she still had several hand pieced blocks that she made when she was a young girl. pillow

As a child, I remember my mom was a woman who loved to keep her hands busy. I can still see her sitting in the old rocking chair crocheting or embroidering as we watched television or listened to music on the radio or phonograph. When I was very young, Mom sewed on an old Singer treadle sewing machine, as did my grandmother. I could sit at her feet for hours watching the wheel spin and the fabric run past the sewing feed as she made curtains for our windows or created the cutest clothes for me and my little sister, Melody. treadle-sewing-maching

At the young age of seven I desperately wanted to learn how to sew on that old machine and pestered my mom until she finally agreed to teach me. I was thrilled when Mom told us that our first project would be a nine-patch quilt top. The nine-patch was an old favorite of Mom’s, since it reminded her of her own childhood and all of the hours she spent sewing with her sisters. nine-patch

In making the nine-patch, the first thing we had to do was to cut an accurate two and a half inch square for the template. Once we got the cardboard template made, the next step was to tediously trace and cut the squares on varied scraps of cloth, being careful not to waste any fabric. We then sorted out the solids and prints, making what I thought were a very pleasing arrangement of blocks on the table. At last we were ready to sew.

On modern sewing machines, it is quite easy to make an accurate seam. On the old treadle it was more difficult so you had to mark the sewing lines for the seams to insure accuracy or use the presser foot as a gauge. With her loving hands guiding me each step of the way we worked diligently and actually completed the quilt top during the course of the summer between my second and third grade. Today, that old quilt resides at my sister’s house, and as tattered and worn as it is—the quilt has been an old favorite for many years.

Being a lover of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I have always had a soft spot for dear Georgiana, the younger sister who remembers so little of the mother who died when she was but a little girl. In my story Lady Anne’s Quilt, I have decided to give Georgiana a loving bond to her past through a very special heirloom, her mother’s quilt. Georgiana and her new sister, Elizabeth, happen to come upon the quilt while exploring the contents of an old trunk which was left by Lady Anne for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday. From there, a story of discovery allows Georgiana to connect with her mother in a way that is very endearing. This story may be found on the completed stories board on the forum. Lady Anne’s Quilt

In researching quilts made during Jane Austen’s time, I discovered that most quilts were often made from whole cloth and were not necessarily pieced or appliquéd as many are today. Even so, I learned by reading a wonderful UK article printed in The Jane Austen Community which tells us that Jane, her sister Cassandra, and her mother hand pieced the beautiful patchwork quilt that is now on display at Chawton Cottage in Hampton, UK. Here is a quote from the article.

In May 1811, Jane asked her sister Cassandra, “have you remembered to collect pieces for the Patchwork?—we are now at a standstill.”

 http://www.janeausten.co.uk/jane-austens-quilt/ ja-quilt-3

In corresponding with Sue Dell, Collections Volunteer at Jane Austen’s House Museum whose specialty is the Austen quilt, Sue told me that the central medallion is a chintz fabric that was taken from a piece that was sold as a panel for quilting, making chair covers or fireplace screens. The central medallion was cut out of this panel in the shape of a diamond and is equivalent in size to 121 of the small edging diamonds. Because it is printed, there is no piecing involved in this section of the quilt. Sue say that the full panel can be seen in a quilt in the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle in Yorkshire.

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In addition to the center medallion, there are at least 64 fabrics including a mixture of dress fabrics and furnishing fabric that are used in the construction of the quilt. The central area is made up of block printed fabrics that were probably fussy cut. This technique centers the flower before cutting out the shape. The small diamonds around the edge are largely made from roller printed fabrics.

There is no embroidery on the quilt. In fact, Sue says that though it is called a quilt, it is considered a coverlet since there is a layer of wadding between the patchwork and the backing, but the layers have not been connected by a quilting stitch. While there were quilts made at this time with the quilting stitch going through all of the layers, Sue believes that the Austen women made theirs for decoration rather than warmth. Interestingly, Sue also says that the quilt is completely symmetrical in terms of the positioning of the patches—even the tiny diamonds around the edge.

When taking in all of the planning that must have gone into the quilt by the Austen women, and viewing the end result, one can only image that the hand sewing of this treasure would have taken months to complete. For those of us who value the art of quilting, I feel that we are fortunate to have this particular connection to Jane Austen’s past. My heartfelt thanks of appreciation go out to all lovers of Austen and to those historians who have worked so hard to preserve another part of her legacy.

NOTE: I would like to make mention of an incredibly beautiful book called Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery by Linda Franz. In it you will find wonderful color pictures and additional information about Jane Austen’s quilt. Included are step-by-step instructions of how you might make your own patchwork treasure.

ALSO: I would like to acknowledge Sue Dell, who so graciously answered many of my quilt questions by email. Sue will be speaking at the Jane Austen North American (JASNA) convention on Friday, October 21, 2016 from 7:00-8:00 pm. The Annual General Meeting takes place from October 21-23 in Washington DC Metropolitan USA. Here is the blurb from her lecture:

Jane Austen was an adept needlewoman who did plain sewing and participated in the decorative crafts of the wealthier classes.  Jane, her mother, and her sister together stitched a unique and beautifully designed quilt, now displayed at Jane Austen’s House Museum.  Slides showing the quilt in previously unseen detail will accompany a discussion of its design, construction, and historical context. ja-quilt-5

I would love to know if you have ever been to Chawton House and seen the Jane Austen Quilt. Or if you have a special quilt story of your own, please feel free to share it in the comments thread. Thanks so much for reading my blog today. Jen Red ♫

A Mother’s Touch

Mother & child

In chapter eight of Darcy’s Melody, Elizabeth comforts Georgiana much as a mother would. As we all know from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana lost her mother at a very young age and was most likely raised by several governesses. After the passing of her father, her guardians became her brother, Fitzwilliam Darcy and her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Knowing that, it is understandable that Georgiana is exceedingly shy, as she is described by Jane Austen in her novel. We might also speculate that she is in much need of female companionship and would have benefited by having a sister.

As you will read in Darcy’s Melody, music is all important to Elizabeth Bennet who sings and is willing to share her love of music to inspire others. Lizzy’s song, All Through the Night (Ar Hyd y Nos) is a lovely Welsh folksong sung to a tune that is mentioned in the Musical and Poetical Relics of the Welsh Bards (1784) by Edward Jones. The Welsh lyrics were written by John Ceiriog Hughes, and have been translated into several languages, including English. Curiously, the melody was earlier used by John Gay in his ever popular English Ballad Opera, The Beggar’s Opera, 1728.

Bryn TerfelHere you will find a link to my rendition which is arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram: All Through the Night – Jennifer Redlarczyk

The second link is Bryn Terfel’s rendition sung in traditional Welsh. I first heard Mr. Terfel sing in concert at the Ravinia Summer Music Festival when I lived in the Chicagoland area. He has an amazing baritone voice and in this setting, the song is much like a prayer. Thank you so much for listening, and please feel free to tell me how music inspires you. Jen Red ♫

 

 

We are Speaking of Music!

 
LC4“What is that you are saying, Fitzwilliam? What is it you are talking of? What are you telling Miss Bennet? Let me hear what it is.”
“We are speaking of music, Madam,” said he, when no longer able to avoid a reply.
“Of music! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all subjects my delight. I must have my share in the conversation, if you are speaking of music. There are few people in England, I suppose who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”   Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

I have often wondered what was required of a young lady to become a great proficient during Jane Austen’s time. Jane Austen, 1775-1817, studied the pianoforte until she was age twenty-one. As we know from reading her novels, music was an integral part of her stories. Several of her heroines played the instrument and sang, not to mention that her characters often attended balls and assemblies or concerts.

I suspect that Georgiana may have begun her musical studies at a very young age. While her first teacher may have been her governess, as she grew older and showed more promise, her father, and later her brother, would have engaged Masters who resided in London to serve as her tutors. 

Darcy and Georgiana MacFayden

“Oh! Yes—the handsomest young lady that ever was seen; and so accomplished!—She plays and sings all day long.”  Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

To become truly accomplished on the Pianoforte, a young lady such as Georgiana Darcy might have easily practiced six to eight hours a day, much like university music majors do today. Her technical studies may have included the older masters such as J.S. Bach, C.P.E.Bach, G.F. Handle, and Domenico or Alessandro Scarlatti. Then she would have been introduced to more contemporary masters such as Clementi, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In addition, she would have had vocal studies where she would have been expected to learn Italian arias and popular ballads written by English composers.

C.P.E. BachIn Darcy’s Melody, I have allowed several proficient musicians to join the cast of characters and I would like to introduce them to you here. For example, in chapter one, we first hear of Herr Schneider, Georgiana’s music master, from her days at school. Coming from a German descent, I envisioned him as having lived in Hamburg where he studied with the notable C.P.E. Bach before immigrating in his later years to London where he took up his teaching position. 

Then, in Chapter Two, I have mentioned the acclaimed blind composer from Vienna, Maria Theresia von Paradis, 1759-1824. In my story, she happens to be a summer guest of the Darcys’ cousin, Lady Jessica Helmsley. In reality, Miss Paradis was a personal friend of Mozart and toured extensively in Europe as well as London. Maria Theresea von ParadisAt the hospital concert, in chapter six, Georgiana and her friend Lady Lilyan perform Miss Paradis’ composition, the beautiful Sicilienne. Please click here to listen to Sicilienne by Maria von Paradis. This particular recording of Sicilienne happens to be arranged for the flute and harp.

As for Elizabeth Bennet, while she has not had the opportunity to study formally like her friend, Georgiana, in Darcy’s Melody we find that she has an inherit gift for singing. Her strength comes through her interpretation of the ballad song which was very popular during Jane Austen’s time.

Thomas MooreSeveral of Lizzy’s first songs happen to be written by Irish favorite, Thomas Moore, 1779-1852. Even Darcy has a collection of Moore’s poetry which is referenced in the story. Please click here to listen to my recording of Believe Me If all Those Endearing Young Charms. by Thomas Moore.

Sir Henry BishopDuring the course of the story we are also introduced to an English musician, Sir Henry Bishop, 1786-1855, who became the music director and composer in residence of Covent Garden around 1810, at the young age of 24. Mr. Bishop was known for his ever popular English Ballad Operas. In Darcy’s Melody, Mr. Bishop assists Lady Matlock’s committee in her charitable endeavors and is commissioned to write a song, Deep in my Heart, which will be sung later in the story by Lizzy. Please click here to listen to my recording of Deep in My Heart by Sir Henry Bishop.  

While we journey our way through the posting of Darcy’s Melody here on the forum, I hope that you will enjoy how I’ve incorporated my own passion for music into this tale. Now that you’ve read a few of my thoughts and speculations, what can you tell me about your musical background?  Have you ever studied the piano or another instrument? Do you sing? I wonder if any of you have performed professionally or know of someone in your family who does. Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts, as I would love to hear them.

Jen Red ♫

The Piano Lesson, Girard - 1810

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

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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.

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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

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