COVER REVEAL: Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship
What did Lady Catherine say to Mr. Darcy that gave him hope and prompted his second proposal? What happened afterward?
Readers of The Darcy Saga have shared in the marital highs and lows of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. In this prequel to Sharon Lathan’s Pride and Prejudice sequel series, the weeks between Elizabeth Bennet’s acceptance of Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal and their wedding ceremony are detailed.
A Season of Courtship as the new lovers grow closer and prepare for their happily ever after.
Take the journey of discovery as the happy news spreads through Meryton and their families. Learn if Caroline Bingley accepts the engagement. Plan the wedding along with the Bennet sisters. Travel to London for shopping and entertainment. Above all, delight in the romance and budding passion of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
There it is! The cover for my soon-to-be released novel! I absolutely love it. Of course, I am a bit prejudiced because I created it myself. What a joy it is to have a vision of what I want on a cover, and be able to make it happen!
As some of you know, this novel will be independently published. Personally, I am thrilled to be in control. This means I am doing all the work myself, and since this is my first foray, I have a learning curve. Thankfully I have many independently published author friends who are fabulous resources. While it may take me a bit longer with this novel then it will future ones, I will still have it available for you to read long before a traditional publisher would!
So where are we in the process, you ask? As of today, January 25, the bulk of the novel is written. I have the first 77,000 words complete and with my awesome editor, Gretchen Stelter of Cogitate Studios, at this minute. The remaining estimated 40,000-50,000 words are about half written. It is in pieces, as I am filling in the blank areas and adding to the parts already written. Once I am done with that – my deadline by Valentine’s Day, hopefully before – it will go to Gretchen. Then I have to prep for publishing.
I cannot give an exact release date. What I can assure is that it will be, God willing, no later than mid-March. When it is finished and ready for sale, I will publish in eBook formats (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc) as well as trade print as the usual online retailers. It won’t be too long! I shall keep everyone posted, here and on my Facebook page.
Now, to tide over a bit, here is a short sampling. In this scene, Charles Bingley has an interesting conversation with his not-to-happy sister Caroline. Enjoy!
~ * ~ * ~
Shortly after breakfast on the third morning following Mr. Darcy’s return from London, both gentlemen found themselves in dire need of anger relief to save harming a specific person in the Netherfield household. Darcy made for the stables, and was likely already miles away, while Bingley practically ran to the game room where his punching bag was hanging. A half hour of unrelenting clobbers onto the beaten-smooth leather surface, sweat soaking his shirt and dripping from his brow, Bingley was just beginning to feel the murderous urges slipping away when the door opened.
“Caroline,” he croaked, adding a resounding wallop that wildly spun the bag, “I strongly suggest you turn right around and walk back through that door!”
“Nonsense, Charles. As if your tantrum will be inflicted upon me.”
Should I tell her how many times her face floated on the surface of the punching bag? “Tantrum?” he asked incredulously instead. “I am the one having a tantrum? That is rich, Caroline. You have been in the throes of a tantrum since my engagement to Miss Bennet!”
“I cannot fathom what you mean.” She spoke airily, but slid her eyes toward a random corner of the room.
“Then let me explain.” Bingley gave the bag a last punch and then stomped to the billiard table. Caroline was strolling casually around it as if nothing was amiss. Bending slightly with hands gripping the table edge, he summarized, “Rather than congratulate me, as a normal sister would, you snipe and whine and insult. Incessantly. For weeks. Even when we are trying to have a pleasant breakfast you persist. Be thankful I have that bag to hit or the alternative would be strangling you!”
The last he accented with a hard slap of one palm onto the felt surface of the table. For one of the first times in active memory, his sister appeared genuinely taken aback by his temper. There was even a faint hint of regret glimmering in her eyes.
“Is it possible, Caroline, to at least pretend you care for me? Or has your utter selfishness blinded you to how gloriously happy Jane makes me?”
“I have been patient, Caroline, because you are my sister. My desire is for familial accord, as I presumed you desired too. Evidently I was mistaken. What is most inconceivable is you not adoring Jane when everyone does!”
“I do not dislike Jane Bennet, if you must know,” Caroline blurted, and then bit her lip and lowered her eyes.
Stunned, Bingley stared at her for half a minute. Pushing up from the billiard table and crossing his arms over his chest, he mocked in a voice heavy with sarcasm, “How generous of you to tell me now. Is this a sudden epiphany between the breakfast room and here?”
Huffing loudly, Caroline flipped her arms in the air and flounced away from the table. “I have never hated Jane Bennet, Charles. She is… pretty and sweet, if not too bright, and her manners are… acceptable. I suppose you do… love her, as you assert, and with time and proper guidance she may improve in her elegance and—“
“Is this supposed to be an endorsement? Do compliments choke your throat, Caroline? Never mind,” he bellowed when she sputtered an interjection. “All I want are your congratulations, even if false, and then your silence on the subject forever. I am under no illusions that Louisa’s pompousness is less than yours, but at least she possessed enough civility, respect, and affection to write with her congratulations. Do you think you can manage that much?”
Hands balled on his hips, Bingley fought the urge berate further. Willing his vexation to abate, he waited for her to reply, and as the time ticked by, curiosity dampened his frustration. Caroline stood near the dartboard some six feet away, staring vaguely toward one of the far windows. As typical, her chin was lifted haughtily and lips puckered as if a sour taste lay on her tongue. Unusual were the rapidly blinking eyes, twitching leg fluttering her skirt, and nervous twisting of the ring on her left hand. Bingley was frequently flummoxed by his younger sister’s attitude and opinions, but he was eminently familiar with her mannerisms and expressions, mainly because each were practiced, controlled, and purposeful. A restless, distressed Caroline was an anomaly.
“Congratulations!” Her shrill exclamation, abrupt jerky pivot, and scowl were wholly at odds with the sentiment. Strangely, rather than increase Bingley’s irritation, ridiculousness struck him.
Snickering, he patted his chest. “Ah, Caroline! How you warm my heart with your well wishes. I pray the effort has not caused you harm?”
After a collected pause and cleansing breath, she repeated, “Congratulations,” in a honeyed, sincere tone. “I wish you and Miss Bennet a lifetime of happiness. I mean it,” she insisted when Bingley’s brows arched, “truly. Jane is…” she sighed and brushed at something on her cheek, “a lovely woman. Provincial, and not what I wished for you, Charles, but… I cannot argue that you two are suited. She makes you happy,” she concluded with a shrug.
“Indeed she does. Immensely so. Thank you.”
More to come! Stay tuned…..