It’s been a busy month, and I have a lot of news to report!
The big news is that I’ve finished the revisions on Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, and I’m now waiting for the verdict from the first readers as to what may need to be improved or developed further. I get surprisingly anxious waiting for these first reactions, sure that the reason I haven’t heard yet is because they think it’s horrible and are trying to figure out how to break it to me gently. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, since I haven’t had that reaction from editors for any of my first ten books, but it still happens. Meantime, if you want a look, you can read the first chapter on my website.
Rather than chewing my fingernails to the quick, I decided to preserve my sanity by working on the cover for Mr. Darcy’s Refuge. All my Pemberley Variations covers are based on period paintings, and this is no exception. I’d had the painting picked out for months, but as soon as I finished turning it into the front cover, I discovered a painting that worked even better for this particular book. I went back to the drawing board and ended up with two covers I really liked. I couldn’t make up my mind which to use, so I put them out for an opinion on Facebook. And I got opinions by the dozens, but going both ways! Finally I decided I’d use one cover for this book and the other for the next Pemberley Variation, according to whichever painting suited the plot best. The only difficulty was that I only had the vaguest idea of the plot of the next variation!
Obviously, it was time to figure out the plot of the new book, even if I’d just finished the last one the previous day. I sat down with all my usual tools of plotting: pen, notebook, and lots of chocolate to feed my Muse. I started with the first scene , the arrival of the Bingley party at the Meryton assembly, with the addition of two new guests — Mr. and Mrs. George Wickham. Yes, it’s going to be interesting! Within a remarkably short time, I had three pages of detailed notes and the whole plot in my head. Usually I puzzle over plotlines for weeks, but this one just flowed.
Then I was ready to go back to choosing a cover, and now it was easy. Mr. Darcy’s Refuge takes place during a period of torrential rain and flooding (and no, I didn’t foresee the current flooding in England when I wrote it!), and the new cover has storm clouds over the house which serves as the refuge. The newly plotted book takes place at Netherfield, where Darcy originally spoke of the importance of improving a lady’s mind by extensive reading, and 15 year old Georgiana plays a major role, going along with the more child-like appearance of the first cover. All I need now is the title, but I’m not sure my current working title, ‘Wickham is Scum,’ really has the right cachet!
For those of you who are curious, these are the original paintings from which the covers are taken:
In other news, the audiobook of Mr. Darcy’s Letter is now available at Audible, iTunes and Amazon. Next up on the audiobook front will be the perennial favorites What Would Mr. Darcy Do and To Conquer Mr. Darcy. And if you’re a Kindle reader, I have some summer specials going on – Mr. Darcy’s Letter is now $4.99, By Force of Instinct is now $3.99, and A Pemberley Medley is $2.99.
I guess it’s time to get back to the new book. I’m now on the part where Elizabeth is staying at Netherfield, and adding in the two new characters is changing her stay quite dramatically!