For an author, there are few things more delightful than falling in love with a character you have created from scratch. This has happened to me a few times in my writing career.
While working on my latest tale DARCY’S ROYAL DILEMMA, I heard a small voice in the back of my mind asking to be let out of the closet again. Waving her hand in the air and jumping up and down, Fiona Feelgood called out, “Me! Me!”
I could not resist including this little darling in the first book of my new Regency comedy series: The Witches of Longbourn. There will be three books in the series, beginning with the meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth (both secretly gifted with magical talents) and continuing through three unique adventures until they reach their Happily Ever After. Fiona Feelgood is now a love witch with powers that occasionally run out of control.
Meet Fiona Feelgood
Fiona Feelgood appears in my Wendy Darlin – Tomb Raider comedy series. Wendy is a Miami real estate broker and part-time tomb raider. Together with her brilliant love-interest, Roger Jolley, they globetrot, returning stolen antiquities. Wendy encounters Fiona in the Museum of Cairo, where the diminutive librarian and would-be author is forced to join in the hunt for Cleopatra’s tomb. This is a far cry from her current role as the little love witch in DARCY’S ROYAL DILEMMA. I hope you enjoy the excerpt from Cairo Caper.
Cairo Caper – excerpt
So far our stay in Cairo had been less than a barrel of fun; it had seemed like a great adventure when Roger first got the call from Sir Sydney. The government’s Egyptian Antiquities Society was hot on the trail of Cleopatra’s tomb. If Roger and I could bring back a certain super-secret personal possession of Cleopatra, known only to Sir Sydney, then we would confirm the location of her grave and solve one of archaeology’s great mysteries. I imagined my name in history books. That’s Wendy Darlin without the “g.”
A sigh escaped my lips as I gazed at a bust of Hatshepsut, the forerunner of Cleopatra. Declaring herself Pharaoh, she dressed as a king and wore a false beard. What a dame.
“She was. Wasn’t she?”
I turned toward the voice. A tiny prim-looking thing in a tan safari jacket over a long beige skirt, with old-fashioned lace-up boots peeking out from under the hem, pushed a too-large pith helmet resting on the tops of her ears higher on her brow. Lank honey-brown hair drooped below the brim to the nape of her neck. She might have trimmed it herself, possibly with pinking shears.
“Sorry. I was just agreeing with you. She was quite a… lady.”
“I didn’t realize I was speaking out loud.”
“This place has that effect on me too,” She extended her right hand. “Fiona Feelgood.”
“Wendy Darlin.” I shook her hand wondering why I’d shared my name with a stranger. Maybe it was the smattering of friendly freckles on the bridge of her nose or her guileless smile. She looked to be in her early forties, small boned, and perky.
“Are you from the States?”
She nodded. “I’m traveling alone. Feeling a little nervous today. You notice the crowds in Tahrir Square?”
“Might not be the best time to be an American tourist.”
“Oh, but I’m not a tourist.” She carried a large courier’s bag with a leather strap across her chest. A thief could lift her and the bag in one hand.
“Archaeologist?” I asked.
“Oh goodness no. I’m an author. Well, I will be. I’m writing Erotica for Dummies.”
That just about blew me out of my Ferragamos. She struck me as a younger version of an old maid schoolteacher. “Do you have training as a sex-therapist?”
If she blushed any harder it would have been audible.
“I’m more like a librarian doing research.” She paused. “Actually, I am a librarian doing research.” She drew herself up to her full four foot eleven, including boots, and set her jaw. “I’m embarking on a new life.”
She did a little hop-dance crossing her legs and biting her lower lip. “Do you know if there’s a ladies’ room on this floor?”
Angry voices reached my ears. I peeked out at the lobby. The number of security guards had doubled and they all had their hands on their side arms. That darn Roger, leaving me out here. If I got killed, the first thing on my to-do list as a ghost would be to haunt him.
The ever-louder street noises didn’t seem to bother Fiona. Maybe she couldn’t hear them under the pith helmet. But she had a pressing problem. “I have to wee-wee. I know there are some restrooms upstairs but the area isn’t well lit and I’m afraid to go alone.”
Accompanying a stranger, albeit a tiny female, down a dark hallway was not the smartest move. But as she hopped from one foot to the other, and her eyeballs turned yellow, I figured she was legit. Besides, I could use a potty-stop myself. I trailed her up the staircase looking over my shoulder to be sure we weren’t followed.
Emergency lights, widely spaced along the corridor, provided an eerie yellow glow. Evidently the power had failed in this part of the building. Staring statues and glaring gods lined the walls.
A room filled with cat mummies caught my attention. Fiona marched ahead, but I was drawn inside. Cats were considered guardians of the underworld and protectors of those in the afterlife. The dried feline bodies caused a wave of sadness to wash over me.
I moved to the middle of the room where the weight of a stare on my back caused me to spin around. I locked on to the dark eyeholes in the head of a long-necked cat mummy standing next to a wooden cat coffin. The plaque under the cat noted it had been entombed with its master, one of Cleopatra’s guards who had been slain protecting her in the early days of her reign. A tear ran down my cheek. I shook my head to break the strange connection I felt with the tiny figure.
Fiona’s shrill voice snapped me out of my mystic fog. She was standing cross-legged in the doorway, frantically beckoning to me.
Coming February 25, 2016
A lighthearted adventure of Regency magic with our favorite couple.
Darcy and Elizabeth match quips and wits in this comic story of love and magic. They work together to solve a riddle and undo a spell that threatens to bring about the end of the monarchy.
I have tried to keep the characters as close to canon as possible but of course magic does get in the way!
If you enjoyed The Witches of Eastwick, you just might find Darcy’s Royal Dilemma to your liking.
To celebrate the release of Darcy’s Royal Dilemma I am giving away one Pride and Poetry Jane Austen Kit. It contains over 200 Austenesque Word Magnets. No refrigerator should be without them.
Sorry, but the gift is limited to US residents. To add your name to the drawing please comment on this post by midnight February 25, 2016.
With love and laughter!