Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Drunken Christmas Escapade

As seen on Not Another Romance Blog, this is the scene I wrote for the Historical Christmas Eve Giveaway with two authors posting a scene from December 2nd to December 23rd. It was such fun participating in this, so I thought I'd share it with you here as well in case you missed it =)
Without further ado, I give you:

A Drunken Escapade on Christmas Eve
by Sophie Barnes

Lady Amanda (daughter of the Marquess & Marchioness of Hawkwood) is celebrating Christmas with her family at their country estate. Her father’s best friend and his wife have been invited and are staying for the holidays along with their son Peter (the Earl of Charington) who is best friends with Amanda’s brother – the two have gone to Eton together and later to Oxford.

Amanda has known Peter her whole life (thus the use of first names) and is hopelessly in love with him. In attendance however, are also Amanda’s aunt and uncle who have brought Amanda’s three annoyingly beautiful cousins along. They are blonde and fair-skinned whereas Amanda has inherited her mother’s darker Italian complexion and chestnut hair. To make matters worse, the three cousins are all in love with Peter as well and have been fawning over him all evening. Jealous and insecure over his attentions toward them, Amanda finds it impossible to sleep. Desperate for something to take her mind away from Peter, she slips out of bed and heads downstairs in search of  The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edmund Gibbon – a book that Amanda has found most helpful on other sleepless nights.

The scene opens with Amanda entering the library:
Amanda set her oil lamp carefully on the side table next to the door and adjusted the flame, brightening the space with a yellow glow. With the fire reduced to embers, the room was no longer as warm as it had been earlier in the evening and Amanda found herself pulling her dressing gown tight across her chest to ward off the chill. She glanced about, her gaze settling on the boughs of evergreen that had been cut from a fir tree earlier in the day and tied with crimson ribbons as per her mother’s instructions.

Taking a deep breath, Amanda closed her eyes for a moment to enjoy the rich scent of the pine. She loved Christmas and the atmosphere that accompanied it when Rambly Hall was filled with people – she just hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be seeing Peter again.
With a small sigh and an admonishing shake of her head, she padded across the floor to one of the bookcases, spotting the thick volume she sought almost instantly. Reaching for a stool, she pulled it toward her and stepped up onto it. It wasn’t quite enough though and she was forced to go up on tiptoes, her right arm straining to reach the book she wanted. She almost had it – she was certain of it – if she could only …

Friday, December 14, 2012

Five Golden Rings - Mistletoe Magic


When I first heard about this project back in May, I immediately decided that I had to give it a try and started on it right after I submitted my edits for There’s Something About Lady Lucinda. I think I was primarily inspired by Avon’s suggestion to think outside the box – that the central theme for the story didn’t necessarily have to be a physical ring, their example being Johnny Cash’s song Ring of Fire. So I started thinking of other ways to be creative with the theme that Avon had given us and quickly found myself developing the ring of protectors. Once this was done, I needed a plot that could make use of my theme and found myself thinking of Jane Austen’s Emma and her matchmaking ways. Leonora Compton was soon born – a young lady still suffering from the death of her mother, a woman whom her daughter soon discovers to have been a part of a secret society. Of course, I needed a hero to butt heads with my heroine and began developing Connor Talbot, the Earl of Redfirn whose obligation to find a wife for a certain Mr. Grenley will see him crossing paths with the stubborn Leonora on more than one occasion. The two have conflicting interests and immediately start off at odds with each other, and yet there’s a mutual attraction that they cannot possibly ignore and which soon blossoms into something much more overpowering. =)

This was great fun to write, but also a challenge. I’ve never written a novella before so being used to 90,000 plus words and having to get the whole story down in less than 20,000 instead was difficult at times – especially since this was the sort of story that could easily have been developed into a much longer one. That said, I enjoy the faster pacing that happens as a result of this because it adds a bit of urgency to the characters falling head over heels in love with each other. =)
Thank you so much for stopping by today. Below is a little excerpt from Chapter 4 which I hope you’ll enjoy. Happy Holidays everyone!


“I was wondering - If I call on you tomorrow … will you receive me?” He must have seen the appalled look upon her face, for he quickly added. “Unbelievable as it may seem, I find myself enjoying your company and was hoping to further my acquaintance with you. However, I have no desire to wait in line along with a dozen other men, so if you’d rather I stay away, then I’d be much obliged if you’d say so now.”