What a crazy time we live in. Before my last post my thoughts were filled with seeing family at a wedding in San Diego and while there poop hit the fan. W.H.O. (on Mar 12 - the day AFTER we arrived) declared COVID-19 was pandemic and we were not scheduled to fly out until Mar 16. Needless to say, we got a flight back as soon as possible, snagging the last two seats on a flight Mar 14. I'm now at the end of my two week self isolation, however hubby, as an airline pilot, had to fly to England and we are both back in self isolation for another two weeks.

To top all that off, while in England, hubby received an e-mail from Air Canada which stated that for those who qualify, an early retirement package is available - effective APRIL 1!!!!! By the time you are reading this, we will have made our decision as to whether he will take the package or not. Frankly, I want him home. I know he practices safe social distancing, etc., but I cannot guarantee the behaviour of others... Big loss in income, but his life is worth it.

My brain is whirling faster than Lydia Bennet's skirts at the Meryton Assembly.

Speaking of Meryton, this week's offering continues with Mary, book four in my Pride & Prejudice continued... series. We left off with Mary ruminating on how unloved she is with her kind eyes. I massaged my punctuation to fit with guidelines.
Papa had finally settled on her a substantial dowry. With all her siblings out from under the eaves of Longbourn he had the resources to add to the family coffers and she now had a nice tidy sum of four thousand pounds for any man willing to make an offer, and there was the rub - someone had to make an offer. 
If anyone were to catalog all her attributes, they’d wonder how she’d gone so long without one single proposal, without one single kiss. Well, there’d been one, but she didn’t count the quick peck the cobbler’s son Nigel gave her behind the church when she was fourteen as a kiss. He’d pressed his lips against hers and then tried to push his tongue into her mouth, which she’d promptly bit.
He’d never spoken to her again and frankly, she hadn’t cared. If kissing involved groping hands and tongues being shoved into one’s mouth, she didn’t wish to be kissed again, however, all her sisters seemed to like the fact their husbands kissed them, so maybe Nigel had got it all wrong. She’d never know. Mama never pushed her into the path of eligible young men and that all by itself spoke volumes. Even her own mother thought her chances were nil.
There you go.
Weekend Writing Warriors is a fun type of blog tour for readers. Other writers, like myself, join by sharing excerpts from whatever WIP (Work In Progress) they have on the go, and post eight to ten lines weekly. Rules are simple. Don't exceed the posted line limit - something I struggle with and at times will use creative (an always incorrect) punctuation to create a full scene. If you'd like to see what others have submitted, go to Weekend Writing Warriors.

P.S.: Air Hug someone you love today

First Page Friday ~ Melanie Rachel

How do you express excitement on a blank white page? Loads of exclamation marks and GIF"s of Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy doing the 'Snoopy Dance'?

That's how I feel about today's guest, Melanie Rachel. She has penned a poignant Austen variation of Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth is NOT a Bennet. *gasp* How can that be? Well, dear reader, that's why you have to purchase her book and devour it like my family does turkey dinner at Thanksgiving.

Take it away, Mel...

I Never Knew Myself (INKM) was spurred by a plot bunny posted by WhimsyMom on A Happy Assembly (AHA) back in January of 2019. At the time, I was busy editing Headstrong, which is now published, so I had to put it to the side for a time. Then, in late February of 2019, batensp4 posted her short-ish take on the same plot bunny, also at AHA, and the ideas started to press so hard that I had to begin writing. I drafted nearly three-quarters of the book before I absolutely had to stop so I could make my autumn deadline for Headstrong.

I’m a fan of the “Elizabeth is not a Bennet” trope. Kidnapping is only one of the branches on that tree, but after reading the plot bunny, I couldn’t resist. When I sat down to write the set-up, I knew the story wouldn’t be about the kidnapping itself so much as it would be about the impact that crime had on everyone in the story, directly or indirectly. I think an event like this causes a lot of ripples and even some riptides—there would be so many effects that are invisible on the surface. As a writer, that’s the sort of thing I like to play with.

Having said that, we have to have the kidnapping before everything else can be set in motion. So that’s the “almost” first page I’m excerpting here today. I hope you enjoy it!

I Never Knew Myself is available at Amazon. You can order your copy HERE

First Page:
Maria Windham shook her head at her husband’s exasperation. “Where is the harm, dearest?” she asked. “We are in our own home.” She stood and took her husband’s warm hand. “She has been waiting more than a year to wear it and she was very excited to show it to Richard and Malcolm.”
Daniel Windham pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand. “Ellie already has too much freedom, Maria. Really, what will you say when she wishes to attend Eton with her brother? We cannot allow her to parade around the grounds like a boy.”
“Oh Daniel,” Maria replied, waving her hand in the air. “Do not fuss. She is four and, may I remind you, has learnt her stubbornness from her Papa. If you forbid her to wear it, you will have a battle. If you say nothing, she will change her clothes without coercion and, I daresay, will do so in less than an hour.”
There was a chorus of young voices in the entryway, and Windham followed the noise to the door of the drawing room. His wife’s Fitzwilliam cousins were visiting, along with their cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy, whose mother had recently entered her confinement. They were all making ready to head out of doors. There was a great divide in age between the visitors and his children, but his nephew Malcolm, the future earl and the eldest at eighteen, did not see it as beneath his dignity to take his young cousins out to play. In fact, all three boys seemed to enjoy entertaining the lively Windham brood.
In the middle of all the excitement was his four-year-old sprite of a daughter, hopping up and down, dressed in an old, cut-down livery. It was a dark red with yellow piping and tiny tan breeches. The material from the old livery had largely been put to other purposes, but Robert had rescued this one from a rag bag somewhere. He had begged to have it as an army uniform and Maria had herself cut it down for him. His daughter was now preening in it as though it was a ballgown. He shook his head at her. Breeches. “Good day, Miss Ellie Windham,” he said, sweeping her up into his arms, “or shall we call you Master Eli instead?”
Elizabeth scowled, her face a black cloud. “Ellie is my name, Papa. I am Ellie.”
“Very well, my girl,” Windham said, placing a quick kiss on his daughter’s forehead. He gazed at her little face, a tiny copy of her mother’s. Large dark eyes with long black eyelashes, a small pouty mouth, cherry red lips, a delicate little nose, long dark curls. He sighed, knowing it was hopeless. He could deny her nothing.
I am going to fast forward to the end of the first chapter where disaster strikes...
Fitzwilliam Darcy would never forget the sound of Richard’s shout. It was loud, of course, and angry—but the fear that ripped through the single word sent a frozen shock to his very heart. No, Richard cried, and began to run. No!
He and Malcolm turned back toward the house to follow Richard’s movement, and then they saw it, too. The nurse who had been following Elizabeth back to the house was holding young John tightly. She finally let out a shriek—but it was weak, and the woman seemed unable to move. Before her, headed their way but slightly to the west, was a masked man galloping away on a large, powerful black horse. He held the reins tightly in one hand.
His other arm was wrapped around a wriggling Ellie Windham.
Malcolm tossed Robert over his shoulder and raced back to the house as the little boy screamed for his sister. Richard was chasing the horse down the approach, but it was already past him and William knew it was hopeless. He whirled around to glare at the woods that covered this side of the property, remembered there was a stream and a field beyond. The road wound down for a half-mile before it turned to the south. If they cut across the field . . .
“Richard!” he yelled and darted away.
He dodged trees and roots, skidded down a soft bank and jumped over the stream, then clambered up the other side. Lungs burning, he burst through the woods into a brown field. He never stopped, his legs and arms pumping hard, breaths coming in quick gasps. As he reached the center of the field, heading toward the far end, he caught the rider out of the corner of his eye. He took a huge breath of air and increased his speed.
His feet hit the hard ground of the road just as the horse was racing past about six feet away. It shied and reared, and William took advantage of the moment to stretch his arms out and lunge. Time slowed as Elizabeth reached her small arms out to him—he nearly had one of her hands—and then she was jerked away roughly, and William grabbed nothing but air, bounced off the horse’s rear flank and landed unceremoniously on his back in the dust of the road.
Before William could recover, they were out of his reach, hurtling down the road, leaving him on his knees and gulping for air. He was only barely aware that Richard had arrived and was bent over at the waist, huffing and puffing next to him. All he could hear were the horse’s hooves beating against the dry ground as it drew farther away.
He felt Richard’s hand on his shoulder and turned his face up to meet his cousin’s tortured gaze.
He’d been so close. But Ellie was gone.

About the Author:
Melanie Rachel is a university professor and long time Jane Austen fan. She was born in Southern California, but has lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Arizona, where she now resides with her family and their freakishly athletic Jack Russell terrier. Her previous novels include Drawing Mr. Darcy: Sketching His Character (Book One) and Drawing Mr. Darcy: A Faithful Portrait (Book Two) as well as Courage Rises and Courage Requires and Headstrong, a modern P&P adaptation trilogy.

Even though I read I Never Knew Myself on A Happy Assembly, I have already purchased this heartwarming story for my kindle. Can you tell I'm a bit of a fan girl? True dat.

P.S.: Remember to hug someone you love today, because as Mel's story will show, you never know what the future holds.


Hello new and old friends. It has been a smidge over one year since I posted an entry to Weekend Writing Warriors, and I'm glad you came for a visit.

Let me catch you up on why I've been absent. First, I was diagnosed with a mass in my abdomen. It was growing very fast and I had surgery in April. Good thing. They removed the mass and two others hidden behind my uterus. The growth, when first discovered, was the size of a grapefruit but the night before my surgery I could actually feel the edges and it was about the size of a small child's football.

Anyway.... I have recovered. I feel fabulous and I released Georgiana at the end of January this year. Yay me! I'm now working on Mary, from which I shared scenes before and you may have to live with a few repeats as I'm starting from the beginning for this exercise until she's done.

Okey dokey. Let's get on it like a bonnet!
At two and twenty, Miss Mary Bennet knew she was considered nearly a spinster. Her youngest sister had married by the age of fifteen – what a story that escapade would make – and her eldest sister had married while on the cusp of two and twenty alongside her other sister who at the time was not even one and twenty and even Kitty had wed at the ripe old age of nineteen. For three long years she’d watched as her sisters fell in love, married and moved away.
She knew she was not traditionally ladylike, as her other siblings. She was too forthright in her speech and she would rather spend an evening playing the pianoforte to an evening in the company of friends, or heaven forfend, attend a ball.
She had a pleasing figure, all her own teeth and if she had a lick of vanity, it was her thick, beautifully curly, mahogany locks of hair. She’d also been told, on more than one occasion by the matronly ladies she sat with at many assemblies and balls, that she had kind eyes.
Kind eyes? Basset hounds had kind eyes.
Poor Mary. Will anyone see her worth, even herself? Thank you so much for stopping by and don't forget to leave a comment, constructive critique, or just a plain old, 'way to go - keep it up'. Until next week...
P.S. Don't forget to hug someone you love today.
Weekend Writing Warriors is a fun type of blog tour for readers. Other writers, like myself, join in my posting excerpts from whatever WIP (Work In Progress) they have on the go, and post eight to ten lines weekly. Rules are simple. Don't exceed the posted line limit - something I struggle with and at times will use creative (an always incorrect) punctuation to create a full scene. If you'd like to see what others have submitted, go to Weekend Writing Warriors.

5 Stars for Georgiana

“Georgiana” is a standalone novel in the three-book “Pride & Prejudiced Continued” series from author Sue Barr. I am going to presume we are all familiar with Jane Austen’s masterpiece Pride & Prejudice and how Mr. Darcy saved his sister, Georgiana Darcy, from scandal when she nearly eloped with the manipulative, spendthrift George Wickham. Now married, Darcy and Elizabeth are ready to launch Georgiana out into the best society—but this young heiress’s limited (and unfortunate) experience with the opposite sex has left her anxious. However, when the Fifth Duke of Adborough, Maxwell Kerr, enters the picture and pays particular attention to her, she is at ease with this dear family friend. Might this handsome duke ever look at her as more than the girl he once knew and esteem her enough to court her?
“She’d been led astray before by fanciful thoughts. This time she would proceed with caution and wait for him to declare his intentions.”
Still when a young heiress is presented, all eyes are on her…and her thirty thousand pounds, attracting all kinds of fortune hunters. Incredulously, one such penniless peer absconds with her...
“A woman cowered on the floor beside the bed and a man clad only in his breeches, his back to the door, held her ankle in his left hand, his right had raised above his head as though to strike. The woman’s nightgown, twisted around slender thighs, had risen enough to reveal several bruises and one deep cut on her creamy skin.”
...but Max rescues her from the dangerous rogue before further harm. Gallantly, Max offers Georgiana his hand in marriage. But no sooner after the vows are said, Max learns that this was not her first near miss—and wonders if he has somehow been duped. Rather than asking her to explain what exactly Wickham did to her, he hightails it back to London, leaving her alone at his country estate. What started as a “knight in shining armor rescuing the damsel in distress and they live happily-ever-after” story becomes pages of much strife, yearning, misunderstandings, and lovelorn letters. Can he ever come to accept his lot and live with such a wife, and how will she ever know what she has done to turn him away from her? And wait until Darcy and Elizabeth find out their sister has been abandoned so soon after she has wed! It’s a melodrama that will keep you turning pages to find that hard-earned happily-ever-after.

I liked this one. Maybe not as much as my favorite of the series, “Caroline”, but it’s definitely a good read!