First Page Friday ~ Suzan LAUDER



This is a romantic comedy novella that’s also known as HOT Collins, and having read the book myself I loved how all the ladies in Meryton went a little boy crazy around the handsome vicar. It's so much fun to read variations of our beloved Pride & Prejudice and A Most Handsome Gentleman definitely takes you on a fun ride.

Blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet’s life is uncomplicated until she meets a quartet of new men: the haughty but handsome Mr. Darcy, the pert-with-a-pout Mr. Bingley, the confident and captivating Mr. Wickham—and then there is her father’s cousin, the happy man towards whom almost every female eye has turned.

Mr. Collins is HOT—well, incredibly handsome in Regency-speak—beautiful of face, fine of figure, elegant of air, his perfect clothing and hair matching his Greek god-like form. Unfortunately, when he opens his mouth, Elizabeth wishes he were mute. With affected servility and prideful self-conceit, he capitalizes upon his exquisite appearance and fixes on Jane Bennet as his bride.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy form an alliance to stop Jane’s suitors from issuing challenges—and will Elizabeth coax a smile from Mr. Darcy?





First Page:
The carriage jerked into motion while I was not attending, so my head flew back and then forward like a whip. How had we come to leave Netherfield Park without my order? Had Jane given Mr. Hill permission to depart? An agreement to leave would be in contrast to her desire to linger and gape at Mr. Bingley.
A motion caught the corner of my eye. I turned quickly to her side of the carriage and discovered I was correct. Instead of encountering her calm countenance looking forward, the best I could observe was her ear as Jane’s hand rose to wave. Her neck was craned, and a quick glance behind the carriage confirmed that Mr. Bingley stood waving in the drive alongside Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy was half a head taller than his friend. Jane did not see me roll my eyes when I settled back in my seat.
The departure was unfortunate for Jane’s romantic inclinations but fortunate for me. After five days at Netherfield Park, spending another day in the presence of those judging Bingley sisters and their compatriot Mr. Darcy would not be beneficial to my equanimity. Without doubt, as soon as I was out of the room, they would spend their time criticizing Jane and me. They scarcely held back their comments in my presence!
“Miss Elizabeth knows no accomplished women.”
“Miss Elizabeth is not interesting as she only reads and walks. Nothing else amuses her.”
“Miss Elizabeth does not mind if her friends change their plans on a whim.”
“Miss Elizabeth’s friends are common and uninteresting.” No. Mr. Darcy said, “Confined and unvarying.”
Recollection of the mortifying incident made me squeeze my eyes shut while it ran through my brain as if it were a vision. My mother and younger sisters know no bounds when it comes to determining ways to mortify me with their gauche manners. Mr. Darcy’s sketch of my character must be complete. His first impression was that I was not tolerable enough to dance with, and he had little reason to think better of me since the assembly where he had made that comment. My family’s embarrassing display did not support the opposite one whit.
Even though he does not much care for me, I discovered his expression would change beneath the effects of my irreverent humour and gentle teasing. I pride myself in the smile count, and Mr. Darcy smiled at my comments four times more than at Miss Bingley’s whilst I was at Netherfield. His natural appearance is superior in comparison with most men, but when his lips curve upward at my teases, changes occur on his face to render his features magnificent: his eyes sparkle and dance, crinkling at the corners, and some rather fine dimples appear next to his bow-shaped mouth. I admit to baiting him to near laughter at times. What would his chuckle sound like?
About the Author:

Having spent her adult life reading little more than business-oriented nonfiction, it was during an extended illness when Suzan Lauder discovered among her books a dog-eared paperback copy of Northanger Abbey. With no idea how she acquired it, but having recalled hearing that Jane Austen was a good writer, she decided to give it a try. She loved it so much that she gobbled up the remaining books.


Dismayed that there were only six completed novels, Suzan read all the remaining Austen she could find: the juvenilia, the unfinished works, the letters, and biographies. During library searches for more, she discovered the world of fan fiction first in novels and then on the Internet. Her curiosity about the possibilities of other stories related to Austen's work led her to start writing her own, exploring new situations and times in which to take the enigmatic Mr. Darcy and endearing Elizabeth Bennet.

Suzan lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with her husband and two rescue cats, who both enjoy cuddling her while she writes.


First Page Friday ~ GEORGIANA

I am near completion of Georgiana: Pride & Prejudice continued... Book Three. Only three more chapters and 'Voila!' ~ The End. Such a long journey and you've been there with me. Thank you. Stay posted for release dates and upcoming blog tour. I'm looking forward to you finally getting to read my story of Georgiana Darcy and the handsome Maxwell Kerr, Fifth Duke of Adborough. I haven't released the cover yet. At least, not fully so all you'll receive today is yet another teaser.

Blurb:
She longs for true love...

A dower of thirty thousand pounds places a hefty weight upon the shoulders of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Her tender heart has been broken before by a cad who cared not one whit for who she was, but what she was - a prize to be won and she fears no man will ever see the worth of her heart.

Duty and honor...

These are the stalwart columns which hold up the life of Maxwell Kerr, Fifth Duke of Adborough. After rescuing Miss Darcy from an inescapable compromise, an offer of marriage is as natural to him as breathing air. When he discovers this is not her first compromise, anger becomes his faithful companion and threatens their tenuous bonds of love and respect.



First Page:
The carriage with its three occupants bumped along the narrow road. At the sound of glass against glass, Georgiana Darcy spared her maid a glance, who clutched a basket of preserves on her lap. The trail, though rough in some places due to the spring storm which trundled through Derbyshire last week, had dried out enough so that Georgiana could visit some long-term tenants before she left for London. The thought of leaving Pemberley and all that was familiar in order to prepare for her first Season caused her stomach to clench. She knew the fear and shyness was irrational, but the thought of meeting so many new people almost made her sick.
“Are you quite all right, Miss Darcy?”
The polite inquiry came from Lord Nathan, better known as Mr. Kerr to the parishioners of Kympton parish. His curly dark hair, broad shoulders and ready smile caused many a young lady to wish he belonged to her but he had no eyes other than for his wife, the former Miss Caroline Bingley.
“I am well, Lord Nathan, thank you.”
As attractive as Lord Nathan was, he didn’t make her heart race. No, that pesky organ only galloped along like a new colt around the vicar’s brother, Maxwell Kerr, the fifth Duke of Adborough. Try as she might, no amount of internal scolding changed how she felt around him.
They hit another bump and her maid straightened her straw bonnet.
“Only one more mile, Anna,” Georgiana said with a smile.
She returned her gaze to the passing scenery. The rolling grounds of Pemberley’s estate. In a few short weeks all this would become a memory. If all went as planned, she’d make her debut, meet a suitable gentleman, fall in love and get married.
Her stomach clenched again.
I have nothing to be afraid of. No one knows about my mistake.
How she longed to capture the carefree girl she’d been before that fateful summer four years ago. Elizabeth, her sister-by-love, cautioned her to move on and forgive herself as she’d been only fifteen at the time, but no one seemed to understand that she’d been more than prepared to become a wife and mother regardless of her age. They all believed her to be a silly girl who’d become caught up in the moment. He’d been a familiar face in a sea of new ones and his ultimate betrayal of her affection cut deep.
She bit back a small sigh and raised her chin, thankful she no longer held a tendrĂ© for him. That notion had been ruthlessly squashed when she overheard a conversation between him and her brother immediately following their discovery. He informed Fitzwilliam, in a condescending manner, that he’d pursued her solely for monetary gain as no man wanted such a dull flower for a wife. The utter contempt in his tone had made her cringe and hang her head in shame.
“You seem rather melancholy, Miss Darcy.” Lord Nathan broke into her thoughts. “Are you sure you are up to visiting the Sprague family today?”
“I am well, truly.” She smiled to reassure him. “I have been contemplating Pemberley and how much I shall miss it.”
“Ah.” The quiet assessment in Lord Nathan’s eyes told her he doubted the veracity of her statement but wisely kept his counsel. “I see we have arrived.”
The carriage slowed to a stop in front of a small cottage. Lazy smoke drifted from the chimney and pretty rosebushes lined the walk leading to the front door, which opened as soon as they alighted from the carriage.

Thank you for stopping by. Remember to hug someone you love today.


Words of Wisdom


First Page Friday ~ Suzan LAUDER

As stated before, I have know Suzan Lauder for well over fifty years. I won't say much more than that because a lady truly never reveals her age.... In our youth we participated in some fabulous schemes. Suzan wrote and directed our church youth group in a Cinderella spoof, complete with hits from the 50's, called 'Hey Cindy'. As you can see, fan fiction has played a part in Suzan's life for a long time. The other production, which we rehearsed for quite some time, was Jesus Christ Superstar. This never took off, unfortunately, but it was a blast to sing those songs (in tune, I might add).

Suzan's love of fan fiction found a home when she discovered Jane Austen and the many authors who bring Miss Austen's stories to life by taking her beloved characters down different paths. Such is LETTERS FROM RAMSGATE. I'll let Suzan's blurb and subsequent first page set the stage.

Blurb:

"Sir, I am not known to you. I fear you may have concerns regarding some intelligence that recently came to me from your sister..."

A simple letter shatters illusions and turns the world upside down!

On holiday in Ramsgate, Elizabeth Bennet befriends shy, romantic Georgiana Darcy, who shares an adoring description of an ideal elder brother. When Georgiana discloses a secret infatuation with her brother's 'close friend' Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth altered perception of both men affects her actions and alliances.

The secret with an anonymous letter from Ramsgate ties Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth together but also separates them. A second missive unlocks the disguise, but Mr. Darcy realizes his true passions too late to assist Elizabeth in her darkest hour. Will the shocking disclosure of a forgotten letter transform his understanding of her heart and lead them to embrace their future?

LETTERS FROM RAMSGATE is a Pride and Prejudice variation suitable for most audiences (youth and up).

First Page:
May 1811
Portman Square, London
Even though Fitzwilliam Darcy was accustomed to being admired by women, he was discomposed by his visitor’s flagrant scrutiny of his figure from the moment she entered his study. As her eyes examined his body from head to toe, her brows lifted, and a slight smile appeared on her face. After his bow and her curtsy, she took a chair while Darcy situated himself behind his desk for protection.
The visitor was Mrs. Isabel Younge, the widow of a much older man who had been the son of a well-respected viscount. Darcy had some knowledge of Mr. Frederick Younge’s reputation but knew little of the lady other than she was said to be sociable and exuberant. Her husband was wealthy and a spendthrift. He had doted on her and spoiled her but settled in the card rooms at balls and parties while she danced. A year earlier, Darcy’s cousin Henry, Lord Courtland, had joined Mr. Younge in speculation related to the sugar trade but had withdrawn not long thereafter. Henry was fortunate because Younge and his partners lost a great deal of money. Younge died almost penniless not long afterwards.
Mrs. Younge was well favoured and elegant in her fashionable widow’s weeds. She and Darcy shared observations about the weather and her carriage ride before she began the discussion of their planned business. “I understand you seek a companion for a gently born female of tender years.”
A solemn tone replaced what Darcy had judged as personal interest, and his suspicion about her motives was eased. “You are correct. My sister is in her fifteenth year.” Still so young. Am I doing the right thing?
“Where is Miss Darcy’s current residence?”
“At the moment, with me. I am her guardian along with my cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam.”
“Has she a governess?”
“No. Not long ago, we took her from school. She found it tiresome, and due to her shyness, she was unable to form friendships. The subjects they taught were of little interest to her, and my library allows her to study whatever topics she chooses.”
“Too old for the school room, too young to be out in society. Without doubt, her ennui continues. I imagine you have no idea what to do with a young lady.”
Although the judgement did not surprise Darcy, it still annoyed him. “Georgiana has been in my care for close to five years, so we are accustomed to each other. No detail has been spared in her entertainment. She enjoys the recreation afforded by riding, archery, and clever table games. Any bauble or music book she desires is hers.”

About the Author:

Saucy opinions like "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has no pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid." won Suzan Lauder, who thought, "I have to read more by this woman who writes with such snarky humour!" And another Jane Austen fanatic was captured in the clever dead author's net. As a lifetime member of JASNA, Austen figures prominently in Lauder's writing, and Pride and Prejudice has inspired all her published fiction.

Her publisher is Meryton Press.