When I was first introduced to Jane Austen’s novels, I had no idea that I’d eventually become so enamored with Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr. Darcy that I’d someday write my own version of their story. I certainly never dreamed I’d have my writing published.
Publishing… it’s kind of scary, really. Considering a writer can spend any amount of time from a few months to a few years on a project, it’s no wonder so many of us grow so attached to our end-products. Sending a finished manuscript off to an editor can be a very nerve-wracking experience! So much goes into writing a novel, including countless amounts of research, long nights (translation: no sleep), and a huge part of ourselves. Oftentimes editors will ask for changes—sometimes monumental changes—and for an author this can be a very frustrating and, in some cases, even devastating experience.
I’m one of the few who don’t mind changes, though. In fact, I even welcome them. I want my novel to be the best novel it can be, and if the manuscript I submitted requires an obscene amount of editing (which, thankfully my first novel, The Truth About Mr. Darcy, didn’t require), it means it isn’t up to snuff yet and needs some work. (Or, in my case, a thousand or so adjectives deleted from the text. Lol – I kid you not!) Continue reading →
With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, it’s pretty hard to ignore all the red hearts and sentimentality currently about, especially if you haven’t found “Mr. Right”, who, for many of us, bears a striking resemblance to one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Well, if you think it’s difficult to find a man like Mr. Darcy in the twenty-first century, just imagine attempting it in the nineteenth, where propriety was demanded at all times—especially during courtship.
In Regency England, a woman’s sole occupation was to attract a husband. It sounds easy enough, but, in actuality, it was a bit more complicated than one might think. For one thing, there were rules to follow, each designed to protect and preserve a lady’s reputation and standing in Society. Not only was it unacceptable for a respectable woman to seek employment of any kind, it was scandalous for an unmarried lady to appear in public without a chaperone, or to openly express an interest in a gentleman. Propriety dictated she must wait patiently for the prospective suitor to express his admiration for her, never the other way around.
Should a promising gentleman just happen to express his interest, however…well, there were a few more rules to follow. Intimate touching, for instance, was not permitted, nor was familiarity of address—meaning the gentleman and lady in question were required to address each other formally at all times, never by their Christian names. Letter writing was not allowed, nor was gift giving; and under no circumstances was the couple to be left alone together. That would lead to implications of marital intent. Continue reading →
With the New Year upon us—and the old one behind us—there’s a sense of invigoration in the air…or perhaps it’s simply a huge sigh of relief because the holidays are over with, and we can finally catch our breath and refocus our energy on something other than holiday engagements and stuffing ourselves silly. For many, the New Year signals a return to normalcy, routines, and, you guessed it: resolutions.
Every January I try to adhere to a lengthy list of resolutions, but always seem to end up curtailing said list over the course of the year—usually when I realize that most of my resolutions aren’t quite reasonable, never mind do-able. For instance, one year I decided I’d paint every room in my house, and another year I swore I wouldn’t buy junk food and that I’d stop eating candy. (The last two ended up being regulated to Lent instead, with much better results, I might add!)
This year, however, there is one resolution in particular that I feel especially strongly about and it is this: I’m going to seize every day and make the year fun for my two favorite girls. My eight-year-old daughter is growing up, and my niece is fast becoming a young woman. They’re both my entire world—the very best things in my life—and, though I try to let them know it on a regular basis, sometimes life throws a wrench into the works and takes some of the fun out of things. I resolve to set aside more time to giggle and laugh; to have fun and be creative and crazy before the magic of childhood wanes. (With any luck, that won’t be for a while, but still…)
I also resolve to set aside some time every day to write, which, owing to unforeseen circumstances last year, proved to be pretty challenging. As you know, I’ve just finished writing my supernatural Pride and Prejudice novelette Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley, and hope to publish it as an ebook soon. As far as other projects go, I’m hoping Darcy and Elizabeth will behave better than they did last year, so several works-in-progress (one in particular) will fall into line and follow suit.
Speaking of works-in-progress, here’s a little excerpt—a very little excerpt—from In Doubt of Mr. Darcy to whet your whistle. May the New Year find you and your families healthy and happy! Continue reading →
In the wake of an allergic reaction of some sort, the last few days have been filled with things like needles and blood tests. At first, it was suspected I was having an allergic reaction to medication I’d been taking daily for 6 years, but after extensive prodding, it seems that tomatoes are the more likely culprit. I apologize for allowing the final chapter of Darkness Falls Upon Pemberly to slip my mind in the midst of the chaos! Geez, where were my priorities?!
With our readers who might be sensitive to more explicit content in mind, I’ve kept this ending fairly PG. That might change if I decide to release this story in an ebook format at some point, though (for those of you whose sensibilities might have been looking forward to a more heated reunion!) Thank you so much for reading this story. Your enthusiasm has been inspiring, and I greatly appreciate all of you!
Happy Reading, AuAus, and Happy Holidays!
“I’m afraid that’s out of the question,” Mr. Bennet replied, striding toward his daughter and taking her hand in his. “Why don’t you return above stairs, my dear, and leave us to our discussion. You and I can talk later.”
But Elizabeth refused to be summarily dismissed. She retracted her hand from his grasp. “I’m sorry, sir, but what I have to say to Mr. Darcy cannot be put off until later.”
“Elizabeth,” her father said lowly, “please do as I say.”
Elizabeth bowed her head before looking determinedly at her father. “Have I not always done what you’ve asked of me, regardless of whether your decisions have brought me happiness or disappointment,” she inquired, “regardless of whether your requests were something I wanted or not?”
“You have,” he conceded with a sigh.
“I would like to speak with Mr. Darcy.”
“I deserve to know happiness, Papa. I deserve it just as much as Jane, for I have as much soul as she, and full as much heart. It may no longer beat within my breast, but I assure you it is there, and it aches.”
Though a flash of compassion appeared in Mr. Bennet’s eyes, his countenance turned grim. “Lizzy, we cannot give our neighbours any reason to suspect what we are…” he began quietly.
“I’ve grown tired of always considering our neighbours,” Elizabeth said exasperatedly, pressing her fingers to her eyes. “They will always find something to talk about so far as our family is concerned. Forgive me, but Mamma has seen to that many times, as have my sisters.”
“It is because their antics draw attention away from you and I, my dear, you know that.”
“No, sir, I know no such thing. If anything, their unchecked behaviour invites scrutiny and gossip, and always will. Do you honestly think our neighbours failed to notice the differences in my appearance since I was injured three years ago? Do you think they don’t speculate about that or your own alterations, even now? That they would have been so busy observing Jane with Mr. Bingley and the foolishness of my sisters last autumn that we would have gone unobserved ourselves?” Continue reading →
Hello, AuAus! I’d originally written this particular chapter of my supernatural novella Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley as a scene between Darcy and Elizabeth, but as I was editing it this week I realized I would have preferred if I’d included a scene between Darcy and Mr. Bennet. So I wrote one and, as you probably guessed, this is it. There will be another chapter after this one. I’ll post it next Saturday, December 22nd; and yes, it’s between our hero and heroine. Phew! Finally!
Many, many thanks for your readership throughout this story. That and your comments are very much appreciated. Until next Saturday, happy reading, AuAus!
Just in case you wanted them:
Darcy combed his fingers through his hair, exhaling heavily as he paced the length of Longbourn’s drawing room. Six months had passed since he’d last been in Hertfordshire; half a year since he’d seen Elizabeth. So much had happened in that span of time!
Too much, he thought as his mouth twisted ruefully.
The anticipation of finally seeing her again, coupled with the agitation he felt regarding the obvious differences in his appearance, was enough to drive him out of his mind. Darcy needed a distraction and strode to the nearest window, where he was afforded a picturesque view of the Bennets’ small park. The weather was fair—partly sunny and dry, if not a bit chilly for late spring—and he wondered whether Elizabeth would consent to walk out with him, preferably without a chaperone. He’d be foolish to think she wouldn’t have questions the moment she laid eyes on him, and figured it would be better if they had no audience under foot. Whether his answers to her questions would anger or delight her, however, remained to be seen.
His injuries had been severe, so severe in fact that Colonel Fitzwilliam immediately sent to London for a physician. After several weeks passed with no sign of improvement, Darcy’s sister was instructed to prepare herself for the inevitable. Richard was grieved, but Georgiana had been inconsolable. By the time Darcy’s heartbeat had grown so faint it could barely be detected, she’d borne all she possibly could. Richard hadn’t even tried to stop her.
Darcy’s hand went instinctively to his neck, where two small puncture wounds were once visible. They’d faded almost instantly after his change, but would have been concealed in any case; neatly hidden beneath his shirt collar and the artfully tied layers of his cravat. He’d lain unconscious for weeks and had barely even felt Georgiana’s bite, but the pain that followed was vivid. It consumed him utterly and raged in his body for an entire day before it gradually receded to nothing more than the minor discomfort of a sore throat.
His thirst was always with him, but, to his immense relief, it by no means ruled him or defined who he was. As it turned out, the well-practiced self-control Darcy had so prided himself upon throughout his eight-and-twenty-years as a human proved an asset to him still. Not only had the master of Pemberley learned to resist the mouth-watering lure of human blood, but he’d become adept at ignoring the incessant burn in his throat as well.
Sighing heavily, he laid his forehead against the window and closed his eyes. It was nearly tea time, and the room he occupied faced the east, untouched by the late afternoon sun. The smooth panes, however, weren’t cool to his touch, but almost warm. He still wasn’t quite accustomed to that; to his body’s temperature being either lower than or equal to that of inanimate objects. He recalled the first time he’d grasped Georgiana’s hand in his after he’d awoken from his transformation and smiled. By then, Darcy was so used to feeling the chill of death whenever he touched her that he hadn’t expected her skin to feel warm to him. It’d come as a shock, but it didn’t follow that shock was unwelcome. They were the same once again. The same temperature and the same type of entity; brother and sister still, yet bound by so much more than the blood of their birth. In a way, it was a relief.
A door slamming above-stairs roused him from his reverie, and the sound of approaching footsteps alerted him to the fact that he would soon have company. They were not the light staccato cadence of a lady’s, however, but the heavier footfalls of a gentleman. Darcy muttered an exhalation as he straightened to his full height. At the last moment, he chose to remain as he was, with his back to the room as he continued to admire the park. Seconds later the drawing room door was thrown open and the master of Pemberley sensed rather than saw Mr. Bennet enter.
“Mr. Darcy,” Mr. Bennet said without preamble. “I thought I made it perfectly clear to you the last time you were in Hertfordshire that your presence is neither desired, nor welcomed in my home.”
Darcy took a fortifying breath and turned to greet Elizabeth’s father. He was gratified to see the expression of anger on the elder man’s face transformed to one of shock. “How do you do, Mr. Bennet?” he replied pleasantly.
Mr. Bennet gaped at him before quickly shutting the door. “Are you mad, young man?” he hissed. “What in God’s name have you done!”
“Not a thing, I assure you.”
“Mr. Darcy, I am not accustomed to being trifled with. However insincere you chose to be, you will not find me so. I demand an answer.”
Darcy repressed the urge to roll his eyes, and said succinctly, “I was thrown from my horse.”
“You were thrown from your horse,” Mr. Bennet repeated lowly.
“There is more to this story, I trust.”
Darcy shrugged his shoulders. “My prognosis was extremely grim. I was told that I nearly died.”
Mr. Bennet stared at him, long and hard. “Yet, here you are.”
The corners of Darcy’s mouth twitched, but his gaze was defiant. “Here I am.”
With pursed lips, Mr. Bennet indicated one of two chairs beside the hearth. Darcy obliged him with a curt inclination of his head.
“Exactly how well do you know my daughter, Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth’s father asked, narrowing his eyes as he drummed his fingers upon the arm of his chair.
“Well enough to know she was thrown from her own horse several years ago,” he replied, giving the elder man a meaningful look.
Mr. Bennet said nothing, only prompted Darcy to continue with a wave of his hand.
Taking a moment to clear his throat, Darcy decided that complete honesty was most likely his best option. “My sister Georgiana is the one who saved me. If she hadn’t acted, I’m quite certain my cousin would have. So, you see,” he said wryly, “I had little choice in the matter. This was by no means a conscious decision on my part, as I’m certain were your thoughts upon seeing me today, but an act born of necessity, so to speak, executed by a young girl who could not bear to suffer the loss of a brother who she looked upon more as a father.”
“Your sister,” the elder man gasped incredulously. “You mean to tell me you have a sister and a cousin, both of whom are…”
Mr. Bennet shifted so he was sitting on the edge of his seat. “Is my Lizzy aware of them?”
“She knows about my sister, but even I didn’t know about Richard until I returned to Pemberley following my illness last November. At the time, my sister was still relatively…unreliable. She was left in the care of my cousin, who is a colonel in Her Majesty’s Army, and who also shares guardianship of her with me. All things considered, they’ve both adjusted well, Richard especially. His outlook is much like your daughter’s, as is his sense of humour and incomparable ability to tease.”
Mr. Bennet shook his head with a chuckle. “I can well imagine your frustration, then.”
Darcy bowed his head and leaned forward to rest his elbows upon his knees. “I assure you, sir, you cannot. I dare say no one can. The three people I cherished most in the world were vampires. Out of the three, only two wanted anything to do with me so long as I remained human.”
“You’ve come to court her, then,” the elder man muttered. “Even after the inhospitable way I treated you last autumn. I have to say, I’m impressed.”
A lengthy moment of silence passed between them. “With all due respect, Mr. Bennet, your treatment of me went far beyond simple rudeness. It was nothing short of insulting, and that is putting it mildly. Rather than bothering to get to know me, you chose to treat me with contempt, which not only injured me, but your daughter, who, out of the goodness of her heart, did nothing more than offer me her friendship.” He exhaled roughly and ran the back of his hand over his mouth. “To be perfectly honest, at this point I’ve little interest in courting Miss Elizabeth.”
Mr. Bennet removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “If you had a daughter, Mr. Darcy,” he said tightly, “perhaps, you’d better comprehend my reluctance to offer my trust so freely.”
Darcy’s temper flared and before he could check himself, said hotly, “My sister is more than ten years my junior. In my absence last summer, she was transformed from an innocent, carefree young girl into a veritable monster by the worst kind of fortune-hunter. In an instant, her hopes, nay, her entire future was dashed to hell, so believe me when I say I’m well aware of the potential threats posed by an attentive suitor!” He rose from his chair and strode to the opposite side of the room, his patience completely gone.
It was then that the drawing room door was thrown open. Darcy froze, his breath catching in his throat as Elizabeth entered amongst a flurry of pale silk. Her fiery gaze was fixed not on her father, but on him. Darcy swallowed thickly, her name on the tip of his tongue; but, to his consternation, her father’s voice preceded his.
“Elizabeth, exactly what do you think you’re doing?” Mr. Bennet demanded, rising from his chair.
“I’d like to speak with Mr. Darcy, Father. Alone, if you please.” She arched one slender brow in challenge.
Hello, AuAus! We’re getting down to the wire here, folks, but we’re not quite there. I know I said there was one chapter left of Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley, but I’ve been tinkering and tweaking and, well, I ended up scrapping and tossing and re-writing. So there is one final chapter to go after this one, which I’ll try to post this Saturday (December 15th), assuming the calendar slot stays open – so far, so good. I hope everyone can live with that because this story is turning out to be far longer than I intended it to be back when I started it in October!
If you missed the previous chapters, or just feel like reading them again, they’re listed below. I can’t thank you enough for putting up with me for so long, and that includes my fellow Austen Authors. You’re a remarkably patient and giving bunch and I love you. I’ll see you all on Saturday. Until then, happy reading!
“Leave it alone, Georgiana. I will not discuss such things with you.”
Darcy’s tone was harsh as he led his horse out of the stable and into the yard, where he wasted no time climbing into the saddle and quick-shortening the reins. He had no patience for questions, particularly from his sister, who’d boldly broached a subject she should know nothing about: namely, Elizabeth Bennet. Clearly, he would have to have a discussion with Richard later about loyalty.
Georgiana rushed forward, blocking his path and startling his horse. The stallion tossed its head and squealed as it side-stepped toward the gravel drive and tugged against the reins, attempting to rear.
“Georgiana,” he snapped, struggling to keep the skittish animal under control. Most of Pemberley’s horses didn’t appreciate having vampires in their midst. There were a half dozen or so who, for the most part, tolerated Georgiana’s and Richard’s presence—and a few who even acquiesced to being ridden—but this particular horse wasn’t one of those. He was fast, though, and high spirited—exactly what Darcy needed this morning.
“I’m sorry, Fitzwilliam, but I’m worried about you. Everyone is worried about you.” She clasped her hands together and gazed up at him with dark, serious eyes—eyes that used to be blue, like their mother’s.
Darcy regarded her for a long moment, his irritation slowly ebbing. “I know,” he muttered, turning his head aside and squinting toward the eastern fields, where he planned to spend the next hour tearing across the countryside on horseback, exercising his demons. “It wasn’t my intention to make you worry. Pray forgive me.” Continue reading →
Hello, AuAus! It’s time for Part Nine of my very short supernatural novella, Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley. I hope you’ll enjoy it, even though it’s several hundred words longer than the previous chapters. (Do we really mind that, though? I know Monica P. certainly doesn’t! Cheers, Monica!)
The links to previous chapters are listed below, in case you missed them. I’ll be back again on Wednesday (my official blogging day) with the long awaited conclusion. Until then, happy reading, and many, many thanks!
Pemberley, Derbyshire, two months later…
For dear to me you have become. Pray forgive my forwardness in writing to you, but time is of the essence and I must speak to you by such means are within my reach. Would that our situation was not so hopeless—that our every circumstance was fated for pleasure and promise, rather than disappointment and despair—but I fear nothing can be so simple where you and I are concerned, and so it is with a heavy heart that I must take matters into my own hands, lest I do something truly unforgivable.
At my father’s behest, I am quitting Hertfordshire to stay with my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, who have long been particular favourites of mine and Jane’s, perhaps even more so within the last three years. Please do not attempt to follow me there, but recall instead the many hours we have spent together as I will—fondly, and with the very deepest affection. Though we have known one another but a few precious months, your friendship has been the most important of my life. I hope with all my heart I will always have it, as you shall have mine, and more.
May God bless you and keep you, and grant you nothing but happiness. Be assured, dear sir, I will remain…
Yours, most faithfully,
Greetings, AuAus! Now that Hurricane Sandy is long gone and my internet access is restored, I think it’s about time we wrapped up this supernatural Pride and Prejudice novella, don’t you? Today I’ll be posting Part Eight and Part Nine. The final chapter, Part Ten, will be posted on Wednesday, December 12th.
In case you haven’t read any of the previous chapters, or if you’ve just plain forgotten, you can do so with the links I’ve attached below. Now, without further ado, happy reading!
He gaped at her. “Why ever not?” he demanded.
“I believe you know.”
“No, I do not. I see nothing wrong with wanting to have a life with you—nothing wrong with wanting to make you my wife. I’m in love with you and, judging by your actions throughout the entirety of our acquaintance, you care for me as well. Does that count for nothing?”
Elizabeth’s eyes glistened. “It’s true. I do love you, but what you’re asking of me is not only unrealistic, but dangerous! You are a man, I am a monster,” she said fiercely, swiping at the moisture upon her cheeks, “and that makes any connection between us not only reprehensible, but unspeakable. A union between us would be considered an abomination in every respect, so pray do not make this any more difficult than it already is by speaking of impossibilities.”
“But it need not be so. No one beyond you and I would ever know. My staff is loyal, the soul of discretion. Your secret would be as well guarded at Pemberley as it is here in Hertfordshire.”
“My father will know. Miss Darcy and Jane will know, and I daresay none of them would approve, and rightly so. I’m no longer human. My body will never be able to receive yours the way a wife is meant to receive her husband. The risk to your life is far too great. I’ll never be able to give you children, or warm your bed on a cold night. My flesh will always feel like ice to your touch. In a moment of ardency my kisses could cause your death. I may be innocent, Mr. Darcy, but I’m not so naïve as to believe any man would desire to share his marital bed with a corpse any more than he’d desire to become one himself.”
Elizabeth’s bitterness and despair agitated Darcy every bit as much as the illicit references she made to husbands and wives and marital beds. He would never dream of dismissing any of her concerns, for they were entirely valid; but at the moment his mind was so overrun by provocative images that he found he could focus on little else besides the prospect of tasting her lips as they shared a searing kiss, his hands on her body as he loved her in his bed, her back arching in pleasure as he made her his in every possible way. Continue reading →
Our dear Susan Adriani is one of the unfortunate thousands hit hard by hurricane Sandy. Susan has touched base via telephone, reporting that she and her family are safe, and that they did not suffered extensive damage. However, she is without power for several more days. Because of this, the final two installments of Darkness Falls Upon Pemberley must be postponed. As soon as possible Susan will be back online – Lets pray for sooner than later! – and she will get those up. Be patient a while longer!
In the mean time, enjoy the numerous P&P200 posts we have coming daily. And re-read Susan’s awesome Halloween treat in preparation for the dramatic conclusion.
Happy Halloween, AuAus! I entered this installment into the posting queue on Sunday, just in case Hurricane Sandy wiped out every power line in the state of Connecticut, making it impossible for me to get this to you on time.
I hope you’ll enjoy learning a little more about Elizabeth and her father, and how she came to be a vampire.
In case you’re new to this story and would like to catch up:
“What of your mother and sisters?” Darcy inquired. He’d always thought Elizabeth resembled her father while her sisters favoured their mother, but it was now evident they had more in common than mere physical appearance.
Elizabeth shook her head. “They are human, though Jane knows precisely what we are and why. She has kept our secret, and always shall; but I fear it’s been very hard on her. She worries for us constantly, as you must also worry for your sister.”
“Of course,” he agreed absently, running the back of his hand over his mouth, deep in thought. While he could relate to Mr. Bennet’s desire—and even his desperation—to provide for his family using whatever means were within his grasp, after seeing Georgiana through her transformation and the harried, emotional months that followed, the master of Pemberley disagreed with the elder man’s solution, especially when Mr. Bennet’s decision ultimately sentenced Elizabeth, a favourite child, to such a difficult and dangerous existence.
“Your father made a conscious choice, did he not, to become what he is?” he asked her.
“He did. Though I’ve often questioned his sanity, I’ve never questioned his devotion. He cares for us, and paid the ultimate price in order to assure our future at Longbourn.” Continue reading →