Armchair BEA week hits hump-day! Links to daily topics, Armchair BEA Headquarters, my GIVEAWAY, and more are on the sidebar.
Before I delve into the topics for today I must first direct my lovely visitors to my Guest Author Spotlight with Regina Jeffers. Don’t miss a chance to get to know Regina and the incredible novels she writes.
The Armchair BEA topics for today are “expanding blog horizons” and “novellas.” I want to talk about both, so will cover each in separate posts.
Because I have written one novella and am working on another, I had to give some love to this topic as well.
Early in 2010 my editor requested I write a Christmas themed Darcy story for an anthology to be published for the holiday season that year. Challenge was accepted! I toyed with various ideas, but in the end stayed with my beloved Darcy Saga characters and interpretation of Pride and Prejudice. With the desire to give readers of my novels a glimpse into the Darcy family future (in case I never have the chance to write that far ahead) I wrote a novella titled A Darcy Christmas that is actually a series of nine vignettes. Each vignette tells a different story of a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in the lives of the Darcys spanning a rough twenty years.
The anthology was released in October of 2010 and includes three novellas. The first is Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart, a whimsical mashup of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The second novella is Christmas Present by Amanda Grange, story of a special Christmas celebration with the Darcys and Bingleys. The final novella is mine, and to my surprise gave name to the whole book. A Darcy Christmas is available for purchase in print and eBook. Each individual novella is also available, in eBook only, for 99cents. Click either image for the Amazon listing, and if more info is needed click HERE: A Darcy Christmas for my page with reviews and excerpts.
My second novella is totally different. Over a year ago now, right after finishing The Passions of Dr. Darcy and with those characters swirling in my head, I was inspired to write a fun novella focusing on the Darcy children from George Darcy’s generation. Life and other writing projects intervened, and the novella was never completed or given a title! I have not forgotten it, however, and am determined to finish it… probably after publishing Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future this summer. For now, here is a sampling for your enjoyment.
Pemberley in Derbyshire
“A wedding at Pemberley! So romantic and exciting! I can’t imagine anything grander, or better to dispel the gloom of winter, can you, Mrs. Sutherland?”
George Darcy rolled his eyes and didn’t listen to whatever reply the housekeeper snapped at the maid, although he would have bet money it a sharp admonishment to focus on work and cease daydreaming of romantic nonsense that was none of her business. Instead, George gripped his twin’s hand tighter, stepped hastily to the left, and dragged Alex with him to narrowly avoid a collision with the rushing staff members. Neither Mrs. Sutherland or the housemaid Helena paid them any mind. Two thin-bodied ten-year olds aren’t easily seen over arms piled high with flowers and freshly washed linens, for one. Mainly their lack of notice was the aforementioned wedding absorbing the attention of everyone in the manor. “The ridiculous falderal,” as George called it.
This inattentiveness, of course, was a marvelous development as far as the twins were concerned, and far more remarkable than the nuptials themselves. Getting married was a sought after development, at least that is what everyone said, and their oldest sister Mary seemed pleased with her betrothed. In fact, she was disgustingly moony about it, staring at Baron Oeggl as if he were the handsomest man in Europe! George and Alex shared the fun of miming a retch whenever Mary glanced their direction, but did presume she wouldn’t be so silly if not in love and happy to be marrying.
Therefore, George and Alex spared scant energy dwelling on the ceremony scheduled four days hence. Their advice or assistance wasn’t wanted anyway, which was why they were ignored, and brought the whole point of this being a marvelous development full-circle.
“Estella is bringing the blankets and pillows. Anne and Muriel are gonna help her.”
As he spoke, George dodged past the footman Hudson, forgetting that he still held Alex’s hand, and the poor man was forced to twirl aside or bowl the boy over. Hudson yelped, and the box of candles flipped out of his hands, nearly spilling, yet somehow miraculously saved by his quick reflexes. He did shoot a glower at the boys, but said nothing. Probably because it would have been pointless. George noticed the apologetic expression Alex flashed toward Hudson, but didn’t pause in forward momentum or talking.
“Henry promised to bring some thicker mats from Sanburl Hall. Seems stupid to me since it is a cave and the whole point is to go it rough, but with the girls along we have to make it soft and cozy. Heaven forbid Lady Anne or Lady Muriel come home with a bruise!” Again he rolled his eyes.
Alex nodded in agreement with George’s assessment, adding, “Wanna bet one of them brings flowers from the orangery?”
George pulled up short and released Alex’s hand in his amazement. “Surely not!”
“Bet they do. Would make it smell nicer though. It is always so musty in the cave.”
“It is a cave, Alex. It’s supposed to smell musty.” George shook his head. “Estella never asks for extra padding or complains about the smell.”
“Estella’s not like other girls.”
“No, she is not. Bet she sleeps right on the dirt floor just to prove a point.”
“Probably,” Alex concurred. Identical faces beamed with brotherly pride for their tomboyish sister. “The positive is that with the Fitzwilliam girls along we can beggar more food.”
George’s grin mirrored the grin worn by Alex, except for a slight hint of deviousness lifting the corners of his full lips. “Exactly!” He grabbed Alex’s hand, spun about, and launched toward the passageway leading to the kitchen. “Between the delicate females joining us, and the abundance of food available for all the guests, and Cook wanting to get rid of us as quickly as possible, we should be golden!”
“We should be golden!” Alex said at the same time. The overlapping sentence was a peculiarity present since the two first learned to talk, rarely noticed by anyone in the Darcy household, and completely natural to Alex and George.
Apparently the thought of food lent speed to the younger-by-five-minutes of the Darcy twins, Alex skipping ahead and dragging George along. They hadn’t gone ten feet down the corridor, however, before again encountering a delay.
“Where are you two heading in such a rush?”
They skid to a halt and turned to face the petite woman standing in the ballroom doorway. Her delicate frame, even draped as it was in a profusion of frilly material, was unable to obstruct the view of a dozen adults practicing dance steps on the polished wood floor. Neither boy spared more than the most cursory of glances into the room, however. Their eyes instantly snapped to the face of their Aunt Beryl.
“To the kitchen,” they responded in unison.
“Breakfast finished a bare hour past, and I vividly recall both of you shoveling food between your lips as if not having eaten in a week. Why, then, the frantic rush to the kitchens? Up to no good, I imagine.”
“We aren’t doing anything wrong, Aunt Beryl. Promise!”
“By the innocent eyes and sincere entreaty, I presume you are Alex?”
Not surprised in the least, since no one in the family, even their own mother, could differentiate between them with one-hundred-percent accuracy, Alex bobbed an affirmative.
Their father’s youngest sister, the Countess of Essenton, crossed her arms beneath her ample breasts and lifted one honeyed brow. “Doing nothing wrong, you say? Such a pity. It is much more fun if you are up to no good, is that not correct, Georgie?” She winked at George, the pretended stern expression slipping into the more common one of playful mischief.
“So you have often asserted, Aunt, leading me to believe you speak with authority based on experience. I would never dream of misbehaving so cannot concur, even though I have been taught it is always proper to agree with my elders.”
The countess tossed her head backward and released a ringing laugh. “Cheeky imp!” She leaned to cup George’s face and plant a kiss to his forehead. “You do my heart proud, Georgie, and it satisfies me to see my devilish traits run true in so many Darcy offspring. I shall have to bring Albert and Jonas to Pemberley next visit so you boys can corrupt them a bit.”
“We do miss our cousins, Aunt Beryl, and wish they could have left boarding school for the wedding.”
“That is very sweet of you to say, Alex love.” The diminutive countess ruffled his hair and smiled warmly. “Trust me though, you are better off without them. They are good boys, but far too prim and humorless. They would have ruined your fun at the cave.”
“How did you know we were going to the cave?”
“I know everything, and never you forget it.” She playfully pinched George’s nose. “My only question is if Lord and Lady Matlock know their daughters are included in the invitation? Not that their mother will mind, but his lordship will undoubtedly bluster a bit, for show if no legitimate reason.”
“Malcolm is coming with us. James and Henry too. And Estella will be there. His lordship cannot argue they shan’t be watched, and they have been to the cave before. I think Malcolm asked Lady Matlock’s permission anyway.”
“Hmmm… There is a great deal of rationalizing offered there, Alex. And you ‘think’ permission was asked? This might prove exciting.” The husky chuckle emitted conveyed mischief more than humor. “Do not fret over it for a second. I can handle Lord Matlock.”
To be continued….
Clearly I love novellas! So what are your thoughts on short stories? Any favorites to share?