Sneak Peek: Mail Order Austen (Chapter 1)

Howdy y’all! In my quest to begin writing more, I wanted to share what I have already with y’all. Today’s sneak peek story is a P&P meets mail order bride story I have been working on for a while now. (Yes, I am still working on the final LBB series book as well as this one.) I hope y’all enjoy this, and please let me know your thoughts! This story is currently being titled Mail Order Austen, and HERE IS THE LINK to Chapter 1.

Log into the Peculiar Ramblings Library to read this, and other stories, for free. You will need the following case sensitive password:

AustenClassics!

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts about the goings on, as these encouragements help us authors press on towards the final goal of completion on those dark days when writing doesn’t come as easily.

 

#ChristmasInJuly sale!

 

#ChristmasInJuly eBook sale!

Cut the summer heat with two snow infused stories only 99¢ each!

https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Storms-Kissing-Games-Prejudice-ebook/dp/B00MCEVS62

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Blame-Mistletoe-Sarah-Johnson-ebook/dp/B0186DY9EK

I’m Back!!

I know it’s been a long time since I have been active in the writing world. Some of you will be happy to know that I am now back to focusing on writing a little more. Life has been crazy this last year with loads of changes, including moving back to TN. We are now settled (as settled as we can be with rooms being built in the basement for the teenagers…lol) and while the kiddos are on summer break I can focus more on my writing. So keep your eyes open for giveaways, sneak peeks, and sales!

 

 

End of Summer Sale!

End of Summer Sale!

Summer vacations are coming to an end as school lists and clothes will soon be placed in shopping carts everywhere. This last week of July, take advantage of my End of Summer eBook Sale! All novellas are .99¢ each and all novels are $2.99 each! Get your copy now, then when the kids go back to school you can relax with a favorite drink and get lost among the pages of an eBook with our favorite characters!

Click here for link to Amazon!

Saturday Sneak Peek – Compelled to Love Again

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It’s been a while since I posted a Saturday Sneak Peek, and, since I am currently writing a new story, I thought I would post this snippet today! **YAY!!** I can hear the applause…and the boos that it’s only a sneak peek. Tehehehehe. For those who I know will ask, no I do not kill off our favorite characters. Yes, I am a cruel author, but I am not heartless, so please believe that this will be a happily ever after…eventually. My plan is to write just a novella length, so it shouldn’t be too much for you to have to endure. Enjoy!

 

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Compelled to Love Again

Chapter 1: Through Many Dangers

February 1819

A sudden jolt made him open his weary eyes. It took him a few seconds to realize his arm had fallen off the chair causing him to awaken. He re-positioned himself, turning more into the corner of the large wing backed seat that had become his only means of any sleep these last few weeks. Even though the exhaustion was unbearable, he knew he would not sleep again soundly anytime soon.

He looked towards the bed. His wife of six years lay there, her dark brown hair splayed out on the white pillow, her bright eyes closed to all that went on around her. The crisp white sheets were pulled up to her chin and tucked in all around her still body. Even in the dim candlelight he could see how pale her features were.

With shaking fingers, he reached out to touch her hand. His heart hoped she would respond, but there was nothing. No response at all. She did not move. Her fingers lay lifeless in his hand, and his heart broke once more.

Will you ever awaken? The thought had become his constant companion over the last few weeks.

He wound their fingers together, bringing her hand up to place a kiss on it. The strained whisper he often repeated came out through parched voice. “Please, my Elizabeth, come back to me.”

A gentle knock on the door interrupted the moment, but Darcy knew it was for the best. “Enter,” he called out.

“I thought you might need to stretch.”

“No, I am well enough in here.” He gently placed his wife’s hand back on the bed. Then he stood and walked over to the window, drawing the curtains back. The sun was just beginning to come up over the horizon and the gardens and fields of Pemberley’s land—his land—would soon awaken to a new day with new opportunities. He felt his cousin’s strong hand on his shoulder as he was joined at the window.

“Will today be the day?”

“I know not—but we must be prepared for whatever is to come. What do you need, Darcy?”

I need my wife.

“I know,” was all Richard could quietly say to his cousin’s anguished words.

The two stood beside each other in silence and watched as the sun slowly rose into the heavens, taking the fog that had settled over the land with it and revealing the snow that had fallen overnight.

Finally, they stepped away from the window. Darcy walked slowly back to his chair while Richard strode towards the door, just as had become their custom every morning.

“Fitz?”

He turned, “Yeah, Darcy?”

“Thank you.”

Richard gave a nod and quietly stepped from the room, latching to door and leaving the couple alone once again.

Darcy stretched his arms over his head, arching his back in hopes of the kinks being released, however it did no good. His back had been sore for the last month, and he doubted very much if that would change anytime soon.

Today would at least be a change from the conventional in that his sister was to visit, along with her husband. They would only stay for a few short hours though, as they had a long journey still ahead of them to return to their home further north.

Darcy sighed heavily. Even in the midst of this tragedy his heart rejoiced with his sister’s recovery. It was at Georgiana’s bedside in London just four weeks ago that he sat when the express from Bingley had come saying Elizabeth was in an accident and he must come home. He left his sister’s side, not knowing if she would make it through the difficult delivery of her first child. He received word just four days after his return that he was now an uncle to a beautiful baby girl named Anne, named after their mother. Today he would be introduced to his new niece.

He shook his head. It was hard to believe Georgiana was now a mother. She was the same age their own mother had been when he was born. Ahhh, their mother. She was so lovely, and Georgiana was very much like her. Lady Anne Fitzwilliam fell madly in love with George Darcy during her first Season, but he wanted nothing to do with her. Instead he was seen gallivanting all around London, dancing with anyone who turned his eye for two seconds, promenading with a different lady every evening, and generally avoiding the little sister of his closest friend and neighbor.

The next year Lady Anne was determined to avoid him just as he had avoided her the previous year, but when she arrived in London everything changed.

George Darcy was visiting his friend when she arrived. He watched as the gorgeous blonde stepped down from the carriage, and Darcy elbowed his friend, asking who she was.

“That is my sister Anne,” he replied.

It was from that moment on that George Darcy gave his attentions only to her, and Anne gladly accepted this change. By the summer, the two were married and living at Pemberley, George Darcy’s family home.

While Pemberley was an enormous estate, and thus had a large income, there was one thing it had lacked in each generation of Darcys before—a longstanding mistress. That is not to say the mistresses did not care for it properly while she were able to do so. Indeed, each did their best. However, the Mistresses of Pemberley, in each generation, did not live long enough to leave many marks upon the estate.

Just as in the past, Anne Darcy died young. Fitzwilliam Darcy was only twelve years of age when his mother delivered his baby sister, giving her own life in exchange. They thought the babe would not live either, but she pulled through and began to grow strong. She was named in memory of the love her two parents held for each other, a combination of their two names, George and Anne—Georgiana.

George Darcy never fully recovered from losing his wife. He retreated into his own quiet world of grief, not going to London any longer and only receiving guests when they were his closest friends. No one else dared show up at the doors as it was known he would refuse them entrance. He had once even refused entrance to his wife’s only sister, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. George found her to be overbearing and was weary of hearing her espouse that her own daughter should be married to his son Fitzwilliam. His boy was not even out of school yet, and she was already planning their children’s names. And so, when she arrived uninvited at Pemberley, he refused to even allow her entrance into the park. When she was turned away she swore revenge upon him, but in his lifetime it never happened.

George Darcy lived only until his son came to the age of twenty-two, then his sorrow overtook him and, while taken ill, he lost the will to fight. He died, leaving his son the lands that had been in their family for generations, and leaving his precious daughter’s care to his son, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and his nephew, Richard Fitzwilliam.

So it was that the next generation of Darcys took over the vast lands and fortune of Pemberley. It was several years before he found the person he wished to marry, and the story of how it came to be was one for the books, with his insulting her upon their first meeting and her refusal of his first proposal. There were lessons of pride and prejudices to be learned by both, but eventually he won her heart and the two were joined in holy matrimony in November of 1812, right alongside his best friend, Charles Bingley, and Elizabeth’s eldest sister, Jane, who were also wed that same day.

The Darcy family was blessed with the birth of their first child—a son—during the second year of their marriage. James Bennet Darcy was the golden child of Pemberley—spoiled by his parents and the staff alike. Though the cause was unknown, it seemed the Darcy’s were not to be blessed with another child in the years since James’ birth. He was now four years of age, soon to be five in just a few short weeks.

The best doctors in all of England were called in to care for Elizabeth Darcy, but nothing they did would pull the mistress from her slumber. It was with baited breath that everyone waited to find out whether the same misery would befall this generation of Darcys just as it had the generations past.

Through it all her husband lingered at her side, refusing to let her go. He would read aloud her favorite books, talk of things the two liked to discuss, and tried to encourage her to open her eyes. Every day it became more painful for him, but he still refused to leave her side. No matter what happened, he wished to be with her when it happened.

Three weeks of this distress. Three weeks of his heart crushing within his chest at every minute that passed. Three weeks of the agony of knowing that every minute she remained asleep was one minute longer the two were held within the grasp of a chasm between life and death.

Three weeks.

When would it end? Would it be the tragic death of another Mistress of Pemberley?

If he had anything to say about it, Fitzwilliam Darcy would give every ounce of his own strength to see that Elizabeth made it through this. Their son deserved to have his mother, and Pemberley deserved to have its mistress.

It was during this time that Fitzwilliam Darcy came to understand, more than any other time before, just why his father had given up the will to live when he became ill. George Darcy had lived with this kind of grief for years and it was too much to bear any longer. He needed to be with his Anne once again.

A soft knock at the door interrupted Darcy’s musings, and he realized it had been hours since his cousin had left him alone. The person knocked again and the familiar sound made him smile. Georgiana. He stood and quickly walked to the door, opening it and embracing his sister in a crushing hug.

Georgiana wrapped her arms around her brother’s larger frame and he clung to her in a way she never expected. Tears formed in her eyes and her heart broke. She should have come before now to be by his side, but it was simply not possible due to her own difficult confinement. Her doctor was not even certain she should be traveling such a distance now, but she insisted it was time they return home. Her husband knew it had more to do with the fact that Pemberley was on the way to their own home, and she needed to see her brother to be assured of his well-being.

During the journey she had thought of all the reasons they should remain at Pemberley, but every mention to her husband was quelled with his insistence that she needed to rest and they must return home. She knew he was right. If she remained here she would be at her brother’s side constantly worrying over him. Pemberley was not where she belonged any longer. No, she must return to Parkwell Manor with her husband and their dear, sweet, precious babe Anne.

Finally Darcy released his sister’s much smaller frame, apologizing for his actions.

She lifted her hand to cup his cheek, the rough hair from days without shaving were felt even through her glove. “Fitzwilliam, what do you need? I am here for you, so please tell me what you need.”

“I am well enough,” he replied quietly.

“Your cheeks are hollow, your eyes are sunken in and dark. Richard says you are not eating. He says even Mrs Bingley cannot convince you to take some broth.” She stepped back and looked over his body. “Your clothing is hanging off of you like they belong to someone else. You must not let yourself go like this. You must eat something. Let me call for Mrs Reynolds to have cook prepare your favorite meal.”

“No, I could not eat at this time.”

“Oh, Fitzwilliam, you know Elizabeth would not wish you to be like this. She would always wish good health upon you.”

He gave a wan smile, remembering the promise his wife had once extracted from him when she was ill a few years before and he refused any food. “I will eat, but only if you join me in here.”

Georgiana smiled, “I will.” She turned to nod at Mrs Reynolds, who awaited the signal that the Master of Pemberley would finally take a meal. The housekeeper looked relieved as she turned made her way below stairs to speak with the cook.

Georgiana entered the room and removed her spencer and gloves, laying them on the chair by the door. She walked over to the table that held a vase with Elizabeth’s favorite roses in it. They were old and the dark petals were falling off the stems, so she gathered the petals in her hand and placed them into the bowl Elizabeth kept on her dressing table just for petals such as these. She would often make scented oils and water with the flowers her husband routinely picked for her.

“Fitzwilliam?” When her brother turned towards her, she continued. “You have not kept your promise to replenish these flowers. After we eat, you must accompany me to the garden. We cannot have Elizabeth awaken to such a dreadful sight as this.”

“I… I have not left her side.”

“I know; Richard told us. We will be just outside though.” She walked over to him and wound her arm through his, leading him over to the window. “Just down there, below this window. That is all I ask you do to. We can even take the back stairs if you wish to not walk all the way around to the garden from the front entrance.”

The barren garden below reminded him of the sorrow within his chest. Then his eyes came to rest on the small greenhouse in which Elizabeth kept her favorite flowers. The hothouse would give Elizabeth just what she desired all year long, and Fitzwilliam had gifted it to her just a few years before. Since then she could often be found in the enclosure on these cold wintery days. He knew he would find the perfect flowers to brighten her face when she did awaken within the glass walls. After a large intake of breath, he finally said, “Five minutes.”

“Yes, we will quickly pick the roses and you can be back at her side in just five minutes.” When she felt his arm relax a little more, she said quietly, “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For letting me care for you during the few short hours I am able to be here at Pemberley.”

He reached around her shoulders and pulled her close to his side, resting his chin on the top of her head as the siblings stood by the window looking out across the snow-covered lands below.

“You must meet my Anne as well,” Georgiana said quietly. “She is simply gorgeous; the most precious babe.”

Darcy heard in his sister’s voice that she needed him to do this for her, so he willingly gave in. “Perhaps a few minutes longer then, but we must eat in here.”

“Yes, we will eat in here first.”

Mrs Reynolds returned with their meal in record time. It was clear that the staff had the food prepared for just the opportunity when their master would agree to take sustenance.

Darcy ate what he could, but it was not much. When his sister was satisfied that he had done his best, she pulled her spencer on and picked up the basket Elizabeth often used when gathering flowers, then turned towards her brother who stood beside his wife’s bed looking down at her lifeless form. “Are you ready?”

With a heavy sigh, he lifted Elizabeth’s hand to his lips, placed a tender kiss upon it, and smoothed the blanket before he laid it back down on the bed once again. “I promise to return in just a few minutes,” he said lovingly. He then joined his sister and the two left the room, latching the door quietly and leaving Elizabeth Darcy alone in her chamber.

 

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Guest Author: Barbara Goss

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One of my greatest pleasures is in learning the stories of my fellow authors. What led them to begin writing, and what was the inspiration behind any of their stories.  Well, this month in my newsletter I introduced y’all to a friend of mine, Barbara Goss. She is an absolutely wonderful Christian author whose goal in all of her writing is to let God use her books to touch someone’s life. What better goal is there than that?

Today Barb celebrates the release of her newest book, Shadows of Deceit, book 2 in The Shadow Series. (You can get this and all her other books at Amazon. Here is Barb’s author page.)

http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Goss/e/B00JJ1X6EI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1463763152&sr=1-2-entHere are the links to all three books:

Shadow of Regret (book 1)

Shadow of Deceit (book 2) – New today!!

Shadow of Shame (book 3) – now on pre-order

Please show your support of this wonderful Christian author! Purchase her books, and pass the word! And now, a guest post from Barbara Goss on the story behind one of her stories. Barbara Goss has been writing for decades, and the following post is about her book Captured Heart. Barb writes clean fiction about the American frontier around the 1880’s, and has been praised by many for her ability to show the redemptive nature of God through sometimes the most unlovable of characters.

 

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This book has a special meaning for me.  When I signed a two-book contract with Fleming Revell, I’d written Forbidden Legacy and had to come up with another book and have it finished in three months time.  I started writing with an ultimate goal in mind but as usual other secondary story lines pop up as I wrote.  This time; however, I boxed myself into a corner that I didn’t know how I’d write myself out of.
 
Amanda traveled on a wagon train to California with her family.  When they all died of cholera, she became angry with God.  She’d prayed for them to live, and they died.  Why?  That’s when I realized that I was also in that same position.  My mother had passed away at age 53 of a sudden heart attack.  All the way to the hospital I’d prayed for her life, but she died.  I wondered if God didn’t love me as much as those whose prayers were answered.  I wasn’t as angry as Amanda, but I did have those feelings in my heart.  So how do I write a character out of those feelings if I didn’t know myself?  
 
I always pray before starting to write and although I had no answer to that story line I continued.  Lo and behold the answer came to me about three quarters of the way through the book… and it was not until then that I compared the situation to my own mother’s death and realized that God had listened to my prayers, but in a long-range sort of way. I can’t spoil the book by revealing it, but it really solved the dilemma for me as well as for Amanda.
 
In the story, two men befriend Amanda: Luke and Charles.  One was a true friend and the other was an evil man disguising himself as a friend in order to use Amanda for evil purposes in San Francisco where he ran a nefarious business masked as a hotel. (I realize the subject seems inappropriate for a Christian book, but I assure you it was done tastefully and that these goings on were part of San Francisco’s history.)
 
Amanda has a difficult time separating her feelings of friendship and love.  One man gave her goose bumps and the other a warm feeling in her chest.  Which was love?  When she finally figured, it out she was afraid to reveal her feelings verbally until it was almost too late. 
 
This was my second book written for Fleming Revell, and I was then signed up for another two-book contract.  I received the rights recently for everything except the cover art.  I converted a paperback copy to eBook using OCR optical character recognition) but not without a few minor problems which a few reviewers mentioned as typos, but they were actually marks made in the conversion.  They have since all been repaired.

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You can find more information about Captured Hearts and her Shadow Series, as well as all of Barbara’s other books, on her Amazon author page.

 

 

New Book! “Coloring with Jane”

 

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My latest project has been a little out of my norm, and I hope y’all appreciate it. I love to color, as do so many like me, so I thought it was time I try my hand at putting together a coloring book. I know people think I am uber-creative and can do anything, but there was one flaw in my plan – I do not draw. Not even a little bit. I had to transfer out of art class when I was in high school because I couldn’t even draw a stick man straight. So I went to my plethora of collected artwork from 18th and 19th Century and made them into coloring page images. Some were easy, others were more difficult, and some did not work at all, no matter how much I wanted them to. The final pieces chosen are from post cards, magazines, or advertising labels and banners. I have combined them with twenty-five of my favorite Jane Austen quotes, because, let’s face it, she has some of the best book quotes out there!

 

You can order the printed and bound book version of “Coloring with Jane: A Mind Lively and at Ease” through CreateSpace right now. It will be available at Amazon in a few days (whenever they decide to list it), and I will let you know when that is available.

Or, for those who want to invest a little more into the PDF version that can be printed from your own computer as many times as you desire, I have set up my own Etsy shop!

Just click the buttons below to take you to the pages where you can buy this coloring book! I hope you will enjoy hours of fun with this new project! If it is well received I may have to do a second edition, as we all know there are plenty more Jane Austen quotes out there to use!

 

Links to Purchase:

CreateSpace

Etsy

Ah! There is nothing like…

“Ah! there is nothing like…”

Any true Jane Austen fan can easily finish that line with:

“…staying at home, for real comfort.”

The line comes from Jane Austen’s novel, Emma.

 

While you are at home, enjoying your tea and scones, what better way is there to pass the time than with coloring? This relaxing and calming pastime is making a big comeback these days, especially among adults. It is, of course, no better time than now for me to announce that April 15th I will be releasing my first Jane Austen inspired coloring book titled, Coloring with Jane: A Mind Lively and at Ease.

 

I would give you a sneak peek at the cover, but I have not finished it yet. So instead, I will give you:

***a printable sample page – and a chance to win a free coloring book!***

1.) Just click HERE to download and print out this page with Jane Austen’s inspiring quote.

2.) Color it and take a picture of your creation.

3.) Post that picture to your Facebook or Twitter.

4.) Don’t forget to tag me so I see it and add your name. (I will always acknowledge when I see it.)

You will then be entered to win a free copy of Coloring with Jane: A Mind Lively and at Ease.

 

 

Spring Sale!

Available on Amazon for only 99cents
Spring Sale on my book, **Just to Hear ‘I Love You’** – get it now for only 99cents!!
 
Mary Bennet’s life changes forever when a childhood accident leaves her isolated in a silent world. Her sister Elizabeth emerges as her fiercest champion and unstinting protector. When further tragedy befalls Longbourn, Aunt and Uncle Gardiner embrace their orphaned nieces into their London household. Mary and Elizabeth must face the disapprobation of London society as they endure a Season of intense scrutiny. Will Mary’s own dearest wish— just to hear ‘I love you’ —ever come to be, or will her deafness forever consign her to life apart? The sisters must face their past and Mary’s worst critic when another family’s tragedy lands directly on their doorstep. Will they both have the strength to return love from unexpected suitors?

 

 
 

Mid Winter Blues Sale!

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It is that time of the year when the holidays are past, the cold is setting in, and we are all looking for a story that will chase away our wintry blues and give our hearts a bit of a pitter-patter as love conquers all. **Sigh**. What better time is there than now to have a sale! So cuddle up under your cozy blanket, get your mug of hot liquid, and go grab any, or all, of these five novellas from Sarah Johnson for only .99¢ each from January 14, 2016 through January 18, 2016.

 

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