Today, I’m very happy to kick off the final weekend in J. Marie Croft’s blog tour for her new novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the novella is told entirely from Mr. Darcy’s point of view as he returns from Hertfordshire in pursuit of the sharp-tongued love of his life, Elizabeth Bennet.
Read on for a message from the author, an excerpt, and a chance to win the book!
Thanks, Laura, for participating in the Whimsical blog tour. While you’re quite an accomplished author, I’m obviously still struggling to become well versed in the craft.
My pastime is nocturnal by necessity. I work at a full-time job five days a week. Moonlighting as a writer – burning the candle at both ends – is not always easy; but those precious, after-midnight hours are productive ones … especially when there’s help at hand, wanted or not.
I’m at my computer, working on a novella for Meryton Press. There’s a teeny lady perched on my right shoulder, averting me from anachronistic words like ‘eye contact’, ‘reticence’, and ‘paperwork’. The woman is garbed in an authentic Regency-era muslin dress and bonnet, so it’s not Debbie Styne, my Whimsical editor.
On my other shoulder is a handsome, early-19th century gentleman, dictating into my ear. His breathy whispers are both annoying and rather seductive. But who’s the guy in Elizabethan trappings, sitting on the Regency chap’s broad shoulder? Lo and behold, he’s coaching the other fellow in the use of acerbic adjectives and insolent insults.
Let’s take a peek at a snippet from A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, as told from Mr. Darcy’s lofty point of view. The passage is about writing, so it seems apropos. I thank the famous author on my right shoulder for allowing such blatant reworking of her own words.
If my vanity had taken a literary turn, I suppose this mooning, this lovesickness, this insanity, would have proven invaluable. Powerful emotion has fuelled many a bard’s pen, even Shakespeare’s, my favourite. Unfortunately, I have not the talent to compose pretty verses on my lady … although, over the years, I have made a few daft and doltish stabs at poetry.
Speaking of stabs, would it sway Elizabeth if I tried to eloquently articulate in what manner her arrow transpierced my psyche and made me equal parts pessimism and optimism? Such sentiment, no doubt, could be worded beautifully by someone with a special aptitude for the turn of a phrase. Unfortunately, I am incapable of elegantly expressing my emotions. Lud, I certainly proved that at Hunsford.
Although Elizabeth’s mother might be delighted with any poem written by a daughter’s suitor, my attempt at a sonnet would surely have my heart’s desire running for the hills. Wait, the hills! It is, after all, my fondest wish to have Elizabeth settled in the Peak District. Perhaps if I composed fourteen lighthearted lines in iambic pentameter about my love, such unmitigated drivel would send her in Derbyshire’s direction.
Pish! Although a true proficient at odious letters of business, not to mention one egregious piece of personal correspondence written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit, I could no more create a love poem than a Gothic novel. The mere thought of composing romantic verse under any other motive than to save my life is ludicrous. And if it were absolutely necessary for me to persevere as sonneteer and never relax into laughing at myself, I should surely swing from the gallows before completion of the first quatrain.
Any weedy, slime-sucked gruel leaking forth from my pen would not come close to the heartfelt poetry Elizabeth deserves. Even a fine, stout, healthy love would choke on such swill. Bingley had the right of it, I suppose. Possessing, as I do, a weak-hinged fancy for written words of at least four-syllables (which Bingley calls break-teeth words), my rhymes would surely end up awkwardly stilted. It matters not. I shall certainly never expose myself to ridicule by becoming a vile versifier. Criminy! What would people think if Fitzwilliam Marmaduke Lucius Darcy started penning poetry? ’Tis laughable.
* * * * ***
Do you know what else is laughable? My daft and doltish stab at poetry inspired by the name of Laura’s blog.
Here’s to you, Laura, and to Skipping Midnight.
To reading and writing while others sleep.
Imaginative night owls, winging fanciful flight.
Here’s to brilliance born beneath blanket of darkness.
To liveliness of mind in the dead of night.
Black letters on white pages in all their starkness.
Here’s to inky-skies, candlelight, flare and flair.
To incandescent creativity sparked by stars.
Emotion fueled by moonbeams. Souls laid bare.
Here’s to embracing shadows and staying up late.
To being held captive, spellbound, by words.
Dreamy minds. Awakened muses. A need to create.
Here’s to sleight of hand, writing, and magic.
To nocturnal creatures conjuring by moonlight.
Ideas whimsical, romantic, comic, or tragic.
Here’s to the wee hours.
To readers and writers.
Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight(Meryton Press, 2013), her humorous short story, Spyglasses and Sunburns, in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summeranthology (Meryton Press, 2015), and her novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Meryton Press, 2016) bear witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter.
Click HERE to enter for a chance to win either a print or e-book copy of J. Marie Croft’s A Little Whimsical in His Civilities.