I’ve been busy these last few weeks, but I’m thrilled to announce I have a new book out, a special story just for Christmas. It is called A Midwinter Night’s Dream, and it is available on Amazon and is free to read on Kindle Unlimited. I have posted about it at Austen Authors this week, but here is what I said.
When I sat down on November 1st to start my NaNoWriMo project, I never imagined I would have it completed and published within a month and a half. Usually I write quickly but then work slowly, interspersing other projects between each stage of the work-in-progress. But I had decided to write a Christmas story, and I wanted to have it out for lovely readers to enjoy before Christmas.
My poor editor looked at me with horror in his eyes when I told him of my plans, but he dropped everything and came through. Rewriting ensued, followed by spell checks, grammar checks, a panicked final proofreading which (I hope) caught any remaining errors, and after a bit of a scramble, the novel is now available for purchase or for reading through KU.
But let me tell you a bit about it. I had so much fun writing my previous release, Much Ado in Meryton, that I thought I would tackle another Shakespeare/Austen combination. While A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not quite my favourite play, I have seen some fabulous performances of it and it brings back lovely memories. And as I thought about the play, and realized that Christmas was around the corner, a plot bunny hopped across the page and inspired me.
In A Midwinter Night’s Dream, the Darcys have been married for over a year and have an infant son. They are looking forward to their first Christmas together at Pemberley, having spent the previous year in London, when suddenly they are stuck with not one, but two houseguests. One of these is Prudence de la Pole, an old friend from Will’s childhood, now a young woman who is bored and is looking to make trouble. The other is Will’s cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, who is seeking to escape his mother’s matchmaking plans. Richard and Prudence were also friends once, but something happened that turned them against each other.
These are our Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius. And who steps in to take the part of Oberon with his magic love potion? Why, Mrs. Annesley, of course, with Georgiana as her tentative Puck. She delves deep into the ancient lore of Derbyshire’s mystical past to work her magic, but can she cast the right spell to bring Richard and Prudence together in time for Christmas? Or will her magic go horribly, disastrously wrong?
A Midwinter Night’s Dream is available at Amazon and is free to read on Kindle Unlimited. This link should take you to your country’s store: mybook.to/amidwinternightsdream
Here is an excerpt from A Midwinter Night’s Dream. I hope you enjoy it.
“I hope your sister is pleased. Georgiana was insistent that we not change too much.”
Will chuckled. Until they were married, Elizabeth had hardly heard him laugh at all, so serious was he. But marriage seemed to have eased some of the strictures he placed on himself, and he was, when in the right spirits, almost as quick to smile now as his friend Bingley.
“Georgie hardly remembers our mother, so young was she when she passed. She was concerned more about the idea of the room than the reality of it. From the times I have seen her sitting in here and smiling, I do not think her upset at all. We have a future to look forward to, all of us, and should not dwell in the past. Especially now.” His large hand came down to caress the sleeping baby’s downy head with a tenderness Elizabeth could never have imagined.
“The room is alive again, as is Pemberley, thanks to you.” He sat in silence for a few moments. She rested her head against his side, content in the warmth of his arms and lulled by the soft thrum of his heartbeat. She stifled another yawn. “Let me call Mrs. Cotton,” he echoed Mrs. Reynolds’ suggestion. “You look like you would do well to sleep a spell.”
“Not quite yet, Will. I have still not decided where to put the mistletoe. All of the other greenery will be well displayed on the ledges and the tables, but I cannot think where best to put the mistletoe. It is quite distracting me. Allow me to ponder it for a few minutes more, and then I shall yield up my beautiful burden,” she smiled down at her sleeping son, “and retire to my room for a rest.”
She closed her eyes and imagined the mistletoe, picturing the sprig of small yellowish leaves and waxy white berries. Georgiana had suggested hanging it from the lintel over the main doorway to the hall, but in her mind it looked… wrong. “If we place it there,” she gestured, “you will have to duck every time you enter the room.”
She was rewarded with another low chuckle. “Then I shall have to ensure that I am compensated for my troubles.” He kissed the top of her head again before she turned her face towards him and presented another part of her to kiss.
And here is another.
Elizabeth blinked away her sleepy memories and surveyed the scene now before her. Yes, the beautiful snow-bedecked fields still lay pure and white beyond the large window, the baby still slept in her arms, and she was still cuddled against Will’s side as Prudence batted her long lashes in Will’s direction. Will and Prudence might have shared memories of Christmases spent together in childhood, but Elizabeth was the one Will held in his arms; she was the one with his name. Soon Prudence would be gone, and there would be nothing to worry about.
Everything would be fine. She was quite prepared for Prudence’s little quips and comments and would comport herself with the dignity that her station as Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley demanded. There was nothing that could trouble her now.
A footman appeared at the door and caught everyone’s attention with a discreet cough.
“A visitor has arrived,” he announced. “Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam.”
The footman disappeared back into the hall where his duties lay and another figure appeared in his place. This one was a man a little older than Will and not quite as tall, with the same dark hair and enough of a resemblance to mark him as kin.
Will twisted about in his place to face the door, pulling his arm from about Elizabeth’s shoulders and setting the baby to crying once more.
“Will!” the newcomer boomed. “I do hope you have a room for me, because I have come to spend Christmas!”
To all who celebrate, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and to everyone I wish a wonderful and healthy 2022.