I’ve written 12,000 words of my Regency novel, and I’m gaining confidence that I might actually be able to get to the 70-90,000 word finish line. I’m pushing forward without a thought for authentic dialogue or historical accuracy because I can fix those later. Fortunately, I have people like Jaima Fixsen, one of my favorite Regency authors of all time (who I’m now honoured to call a friend). I’ll ask her help in catching any glaring problem before the book gets launched into the world.
Jaima, by the way, is the author of Fairchild, which you can purchase here. There is also the second in the series, Incognita, also available on Amazon. And if you sign up for her newsletter, you can get the third in the series – Courting Scandal – for free! Her website, and author newsletter, is found here.
So I’m writing fiction, and I’ve determined that the important thing is just to get the words out. It’s so much more fun to play around with words that are already on the page than to create them from scratch. One is like choosing from an assortment of chocolates. The other is like squeezing a rubber ball while the nurse searches for a vein.
I’m happy to have these 12,000 words because otherwise there’s been a dearth of words when it comes to expressing how I feel. I assume that it’s due to being completely off antidepressants for a few months now.
(As an aside, I’ve found that it doesn’t help when people say ‘Bravo’ regarding leaving off the antidepressants. I discussed the whys with my psychologist, and she helped me to see that it still carries judgement because no one would say ‘Bravo’ if you went off antibiotics. The choice to take or leave antidepressants is determined by the person and his or her doctor based on need, and is not open for commentary by the public at large).
Will you forgive me the lecture? 🙂 I’m trying to keep my dignity even when revealing such intimate matters. And I choose to discuss intimate matters because silence is sometimes the enemy.
Okay, where was I? Oh! The dearth. Which really should be spelled “dirth” don’t you think? Dirth like mirth, not darth like hearth?
I’m faithfully following my nutritionist’s advice (going on a month now, which is nothing short of a miracle) and I’m going to the gym regularly. And it’s stopped raining. And … the workers never came back so our home is still in its raw state, but that shouldn’t be a big thing, right? Yet, with all this evidence of a fully functional life, I have no words with which to express it.
I take a shower every day, cook for my family, clean sometimes, help my kids with homework on most days. I write, I entertain. By force of habit, I’m full of life with company (You see?! You’re fine! You don’t need those antidepressants). I’m fully functional.
However, I rarely experience joy, I never experience well-being, and my general emotional state is one of mild alarm. And I wonder if “fully functional” will ever feel any better than this, and if it doesn’t, whether that is good enough for me.
Well look at that. Here are 500 words! Not bad for a girl whose words were all whisked away.
And here – (raw and little edited) – are 900 more:
Lunch was spent only slightly more tolerably, with Eleanor seated between Mr. Amesbury and Sir Wolverinton. Mr. Amesbury, who had decided she lacked fortune, looks, and address, did not put himself out to please, but performed his part punctiliously. When all other subjects had been exhausted, he forged ahead with the battle-weary pluck of a hardened conversationalist. “Miss Daventry, I understand from the earl that your father lost his life in the war.”
“Yes. We received word that he fell at La Coruna.”
“And your mother?” Mr. Amesbury was busy attacking his steak and did not see her blush.
“My mother gave up all claims to natural affection when she remarried. Her husband is a French count, and they moved to the Continent.” Her voice was firm and her hand that held the glass, steady, despite the alarming look her neighbor shot her. ” The former Lord Allinthridge was a great friend of my father’s, and he has shown his kindness in taking me on as his ward.”
Before he could respond, the meal changed courses and she was called to listen to Sir Wolverington’s condescending oratory on the subjects that interested him. She was grateful for the reprieve, and that only one course remained which required her to converse with Mr. Amesbury, whose embarrassed gaze, fixed on the plate in front of him, led her to abandon all attempts at polite conversation.
Mr. Amesbury did not broach the subject with the earl until the port had been shared, and he was ready to take his leave. He announced that he would take himself off immediately rather than rejoin the ladies in the drawing room, not wishing to encroach on a family party. Lord Allinthridge accompanied him to the stables.
“I say, old friend. I’m surprised you have Miss Daventry residing here. Her family is too shady by half.” Mr. Amesbury’s face flushed with indignation. “I’ll not thank you to have placed her next to me.”
“What do you mean by that?” Lord Allinthridge realized he had barely conversed with Miss Daventry when they had dined together and could not imagine to what his friend was objecting. He frowned at the recollection. I did not behave as a gentleman ought. I was in no spirit to dine with anyone, much less a young lady who was a perfect stranger…
“Do you not know of it? Her mother abandoned her daughter to marry a Frenchman and live on the Continent—heaven only knows whether she was yet a widow! That your uncle would recognize the girl baffles me, but my advice to you, my dear fellow, is to let her collect her share of the pot—whatever that may be—and send her packing. Your connexion is not known and it may not be too late if you give her the cut direct as soon as you are able.”
The earl’s voice was mild, but had his friend looked at his face, he would have seen his lip curl. “Surely someone whose consequence is as great as mine cannot be hurt in any way by a connexion I choose to form.”
Mr. Amesbury missed the irony and continued. “No, no, you have it all wrong. You can never be too careful—” He did not finish his thought because the groom came forward leading his horse. “Ah, you had him saddled, did you? I’ll just check the straps myself. No, you see they are too tight here, don’t you?”
Lord Allinthridge was lost in thought. With this fresh information about Miss Daventry, he discerned that it would be hard for his uncle’s ward to find a suitable match, and unlike Mr. Amesbury, it was not in his nature to cast off an object of ill-repute—or pity, rather, since she was not the cause of it. He hoped, for her sake, she would receive something to live on so that she was not dependent on society—and most particularly—on his.
When Mr. Amesbury had mounted, he drew the earl’s attention. “I’m off for London tomorrow. Come play billiards with me this evening. I’ve found the most excellent brandy buried in my father’s cellar. I’ve been kicking my heels in the curst place for too long and am in need of some diversion.”
The earl smiled to himself, knowing that—far from being a “curst place”—Mr. Amesbury’s estate was his pride and joy. “I cannot escape my duties of playing host tonight for dinner,” he replied.
“Come afterwards. No one can have a thing to say about that.” When he saw the earl start to shake his head, he gave a wicked grin. “Come, and I’ll tell you what really happened with Fitz and the hog when they went to the prizefight.”
Lord Allinthridge laughed. The years fell away and there was no disappointment in love, no bloody war, no title and estate to uphold. “Fitz always did kick up the best larks. I thought you swore to secrecy. Word of a gentleman and all that.”
“No, he spilled the story himself at White’s. It was the talk of the town. You were away though.” Sir Amesbury’s horse began to sidle and he gripped the reins. “So I can count on you this evening?”
“I’ll come as soon as I am able.” The earl gave a wave and Sir Amesbury rode off.
My most recent book The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte is being featured on Hollywood Jesus, a website that seeks to bring clean literature and cinema to its audience. Would you take a moment to vote for it? It doesn’t require signing up so it’s quite simple to do. You can get there by clicking here.
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