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Fun Friday: The Doctor and the Scotsman (A Ransome Spin-Off #StoryIdea)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fun Friday 2013
Because I’m trying to re-teach myself that writing can be fun, this year, I’m focusing on coming up with new ideas for stories. Does this mean they’ll all get written in novel or even novella form? No guarantees. However, this is a creative exercise that I both need and want to share.

You can read all of the previous story ideas here.

Working Title: The Doctor and the Scotsman

Adeline Henrietta “Henry” Witherington = Jaimie Alexander
Broderick McLaren = Sullivan Stapleton

With the full knowledge and support of her parents—Michael (formerly known as the pirate El Salvador) and Serena (a yacht/pleasure-craft designer)—Adeline Henrietta Witherington entered the American School of Medicine (Eclectic) in Cincinnati, OH, as Mr. Henry Witherington—because posing as a man was the only way she could study to be a doctor.

Now, with the ink barely dry on her diploma, “Henry” has been hired as the doctor for a small town in northern Kentucky, not too far across the river from Cincinnati. Although she thinks she is prepared for it, the reality of slavery is harder to deal with when she sees it face to face for herself. She learns upon arriving that she was hired (as Dr. Henry Witherington) because the previous town doctor left to go work at a new hospital in Louisville. She’s now solely responsible for treating everyone in town as well as on the surrounding plantations.

As soon as Broderick McLaren sees Dr. Henry Witherington, he realizes there’s something not quite right about the very young doctor. He was able to trust the former doctor with his secret, so Brodie would like to be able to take Dr. W. into his confidence. However, he needs to observe the doctor for a while first.

Adeline/Henry is shocked by the condition of the slaves she’s asked to treat at the McLaren plantation. She doesn’t want to be judgmental, but the injuries and conditions she sees lead her to think the worst of McLaren. Especially since he hides these injured/sick slaves away from everyone else.

After weeks of visits to the McLaren plantation, Addie/Henry realizes that she’s misjudged Brodie—that he’s actually helping slaves escape. The more she’s around him, the more she witnesses his kindness and compassion for the refugees, the harder she falls for him. She finally can’t stand to keep lying to him. She confronts him with the knowledge of what he’s doing, then tells him that she cannot continue being dishonest with him and reveals her true identity. Now each is in the other’s confidence and each has the power to ruin the other should their secrets be revealed.

However, more than one neighbor is suspicious of the Scotsman—after all, Brodie never has trouble with runaways—and because he’s a foreigner, he’s always been an outsider. . .a very successful outsider, and the other planters would love to see him gone.

It’s noticed that the new doctor pays a lot more calls on the McLaren plantation than anyone else’s—which is suspicious, as Brodie is a single man with no family, who claims to have no problems with his slaves (no whippings, no physical punishments that would necessitate a doctor’s care).

When a family of fugitives makes their way to the McLaren plantation with slave catchers hot on their trail, the suspicion that McLaren and Dr. W are helping the runaways boils to the surface. The slave catchers roust up a posse which descends upon the plantation, discovering that Dr. W is there again. When the leader of the incensed group insists on searching the plantation for the runaways, Brodie makes a split-second decision that will, hopefully, save the lives of this family. He reveals to his neighbors and the townspeople that Dr. Henry Witherington is actually Adaline Henrietta Witherington—who really is a doctor—and the reason she’s been spending so much time at his plantation is because they’re in love and getting married soon.

Can this deception protect the innocent? How far will the charade engagement have to go in order to save those under their protection? Will Brodie and Adeline have to make good on his claim?

Timed, Handwritten, Offline, Remote–It’s THORsday! | #amwriting #1k1hr #2017WritingGoals

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017-thorsdayOn Thursdays, we do an alternate version of Timer Tuesday—instead of challenging ourselves to sit at the computer and try to crank out as many words as fast as we can, the challenge is to get away from the computer.

What Does THORsday Mean?
It’s pretty simple. Our writing challenge for today is:

What that means is that for the length of time you designate (half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour, etc.), you will write by hand (on actual paper). You will turn off all of your Internet-connected devices (or put them away/get away from them). And you will find a remote spot in which to work—in other words, don’t do this at the same place where you usually write. Go into a different room. Go outside. If you can, get out of the house and go work somewhere else, like your public library or a coffee shop.

Otherwise, try to follow all of the [revised] suggestions that we use for regular 1k1hr writing sprints.

Leave a comment with your THORsday goal—when, where, and for how long do you plan to do your handwritten challenge today? If you’d like to, for accountability’s sake, come back afterward and post an image of your handwritten work.

Link to instructions for posting images in the comments.

Writer-Talk Wednesday: Ready, Set, Write!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This is the year you’ve promised yourself that you’re finally going to get around to writing that novel. So let’s get ready, let’s get set, and let’s write.

Originally published January–March 2015

Get Ready: Is Your Setting Ready? #ReadySetWrite |
Ready. Set. Write.: Planning, Preparing, and Writing Your Novel This Year

    This is the year you’ve promised yourself that you’re finally going to get around to writing that novel. The one that you’ve always dreamed of writing but have never actually sat down to do.

    Or this is the year that you’ve resolved to finish your manuscript. Or this is the year that you’re going to write two, three, or more manuscripts—but you just aren’t sure how to do it since it takes you a year or longer to get one story down on paper just right.

Get Ready: Is Your PREMISE Ready?

    I have a story idea, thanks.

    Well . . . story premise is a bit more complex than a story idea. Conversely, premise is not nearly as complex as plot.

Get Ready: Are Your CHARACTERS Ready?

    Now that you have your PREMISE nailed down, it’s time to start thinking about characters. Since we’re not actually writing yet—or really even in deep preparation for writing—now is the time to really just concentrate on who’s going to be in the story, not on deep character development.

Get Ready: Is your SETTING ready?

    Sometimes, the geographic location of a story is an integral part of the premise. Other times, we have to figure out where the best setting for our story will be. And this is something you need to know before you get into the planning stage.

#ReadySetWrite: Get Set--Writing Your Opening  Scene(s) |
Get Set: Developing Your Backstory

    This is known as giving your characters extended lives. Just as you exist before and after the few weeks you might spend caught up in some project or conflict, your characters need an existence beyond the scope of your story in order to come across as real people, rather than just two-dimensional caricatures who vanish like a puff of smoke as soon as their role in the story is over.

Get Set: Picking Your Point of View and Viewpoint Characters

    Now that you know the backstories of your characters and storyworld, it’s time to start preparing to choose in what style and in what viewpoints your story will be told.

Get Set: Getting to Know Your Setting

    Last week, we discussed backstory and the importance of knowing the backstory of your setting, in addition to your characters. But now it’s time to get to know your setting even more intimately.

Get Set: Doing Your Research

    If you do a good bit of your research before you start writing—research that may start even way back when you’re developing the premise of your story—when something comes up as you’re writing, you’re either already going to have notes on it, or you’re going to know which book or website from which you’re likely to find the information you need.

Get Set: Determining Your Story’s Tone

    Will your story be lighthearted? serious? Will it be dark and moody or bright and cheery? Soulful and somber? Or fun and witty? Cynical and sarcastic? Or witty and irreverent?

    That’s what it means to set a tone.

Get Set: Setting Writing Goals and Timelines

    It’s all well and good to be ambitious and say you’re going to have the rough draft of your manuscript finished in three months—or even less time. And, if you’re an experienced writer and you know your own production ability, then you know whether or not that’s a reasonable goal.

Get Set: Figuring Out Your Characters’ Desires, Goals, and Motivations

    There are a couple of things lurking in the work you’ve already done up to this point which will be important to dig out and define at this point: your main characters’ goals and motivations.

Get Set: Structuring Your Story in Seven Steps

    The easiest way to not only make sure you have enough story to reach your desired word count—as well as to have something that keeps you on track when you feel lost or derailed somewhere after about chapter 3—is to use some kind of outline structure. If you’re writing genre fiction, this is a little easier, because there are certain markers, certain landmarks your story needs to hit in order to meet reader (and publisher) expectations.

Get Set: Getting into the Draft-Writing Mindset

    One thing that can make writers, whether trying for a first manuscript or a fiftieth, want to give up is the failure to realize the difference between regular writing and draft writing.

Get Set: Setting Up Your Writing Space(s)

    We as writers are blessed with the ability to ply our chosen art form anywhere we might find ourselves—from jotting notes on paper restaurant napkins to what-if’ing on the order of worship during a long-winded sermon to plotting a three-book series on a butcher-paper table cloth during a dinner/concert. But this isn’t the most practical way to go about writing an entire manuscript, much less trying to do it on a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise.

Get Set: Writing Your Opening Scene(s)

    Rather than repeat everything that’s already been written about crafting the “perfect” opening scene, let’s discuss what it means to sit down and write an opening scene—or a dozen—for the book you’ve been getting Ready and Set to Write.

Writing Your Story Scene by Scene #ReadySetWrite |
Write: Writing Your Story Scene by Scene

    When you sit down to work on your story, don’t think about “writing the story,” think about “writing a scene.” If you don’t think about what you’re doing in terms of small chunks, then it’s going to be overwhelming and is the quickest path to writer’s block.

Write: Using Dialogue to Bring Your Story to Life

    Because we’re dealing with words on a page, not being spoken aloud by actors with the benefit of staging, lighting, props, and direction, we have to hit somewhere between these two screen writers—with excellent dialogue that keeps readers’ attention engaged while also building tension and moving the story forward without getting bogged down in exposition or being so awkwardly phrased as to be uncomfortable or unbelievable—all the while balancing it with dazzling narrative and action.

Write: “Stealing” Writing Time and Revisiting Your Goals

    As I’ve stated in another post, everywhere is a good place to brainstorm (or write). But how often do we either recognize and/or utilize the opportunity to “steal” that time and actually use it for writing?

Write: Storyboarding to Avoid the Sagging Middle

    As with most of the rest of the aspects of writing, there are just about as many different ways to do this as there are writers. For me, there are actually two steps to how I storyboard.

Write: Building Your Momentum (and Word Count) with #1k1h Writing Sprints

    Sometimes, when you’re in the middle of your manuscript and you just can’t seem to move forward—and even storyboarding doesn’t help—the only thing that does help is setting a timer and making yourself write, marathon-style.

Write: Generating Conflict and Collecting Narrative Debt

    This is what the middle of the story is about: the triumph of our characters over any conflict we as the writers can throw in their paths. Be mean to your characters. Take away from them what they treasure most in this world and give it to their arch-nemesis. Strip them of everything. Treat them like Job and see what they do.

#2017WritingGoals: It’s Timer Tuesday! | #amwriting #1k1hr

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

timer-tuesdayMoving forward with our “New Year, Revised Goals” theme for our 2017 Writing Goals effort, our challenge on Timer Tuesdays will be to schedule and complete a solid one-hour block of writing-related work during the day. If you’re still working on a word-count goal, please continue with a regular 1k1hr sprint, if you so desire. For those of us who are now looking at a goal of spending more time writing, the focus of that scheduled, uninterrupted hour isn’t trying to hit a word-count but just making sure we’re completely focused on something fiction-writing related for the entire hour with no distractions. Same goes for editing and revision, as well.

I’m going to try to do my #1k1h fiction-focused hour today at 5:30 PM US Central time*.

*To determine the time of the 1k1hr sprint in your time zone, go to the Time Converter website by clicking the image above and inputting my time (as Nashville or Central Standard Time) on the left, and your city/location on the right. For example, 5:30 PM Tuesday in Nashville is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Sydney, Australia.

What time will you be doing your 1k1hr today? Or if you absolutely cannot do one full hour, how will you make sure you get at least one hour of writing-related work done today?

Remember, the more support (and accountability) there is, the more successful we’ll all be!

1k1h Tips for Success

  1. Prevent Interruptions.
    Let anyone within your household know that you need one uninterrupted hour to try to head off at the pass any interruptions.
  2. Set a Timer.
    This is most important. Don’t do this by just watching the clock. You’ll find yourself only watching the clock and not getting anything accomplished. Setting a timer allows you to forget about the time and concentrate fully on your project.
  3. Prepare Ahead of Time.
    Schedule your 1k1hr time far enough in advance (allow yourself at least an hour if not more) in order to start thinking about what you’re going to work on. Even if you’re doing something else until just about time to work, you can still use part of your brain to be thinking ahead as to what scene you’re going to write or what story idea you’re going to work on. Be sure to allow a few minutes before your work time starts in order to truly prepare, though.

    –For Sprint Writing: Re-read the last few pages you wrote (without editing/revising!) to get your head back into the story and figure out where you need to pick up. Review your outline and/or character pages in your Story Bible. If you’re going to be sprint writing, put all of that away so you don’t use those to procrastinate during the hour.

    –For Project Time: If you’re focused on building time rather than word-count, surround yourself with all of these things in order to keep from having to stop to find stuff as you work. The more things you have that will spark your creativity and present new ideas to you, the better.

  4. Music:
    –For Sprint Writing: If you listen to music while writing (I recommend instrumental so that you don’t get distracted by the lyrics), have it set up and playing before starting your timer. Use earphones, even if you’re working at home, to block out any sounds that might pull you out of your story.

    –For Project Time: Have you considered setting up a “playlist” for your story/idea? Do you have a theme song for each of your main characters? How does/could music play into your story idea/character development. (See this post for an example.)

  5. Wear Earphones.
    If you can’t listen to music while writing/working, I recommend wearing the earphones anyway. People are less likely to interrupt you (at home or working somewhere like a coffee shop) if you have them in/on—and they help block out other distracting sounds.
  6. Prepare Your Work Space.
    Make sure your work space (both physical and mental) is set up and ready to go before you start your timer, whether your sprint writing or working on a writing-related project for the hour. In other words, make sure that about five to ten minutes before you start the 1k1h time begins, you’re in the process of getting ready to work.
  7. Eliminate all distractions!
    Silence or turn off your cell phone (unless you’re using it as your timer—then don’t turn it off, just put your phone in Airplane Mode; or if there are people who may absolutely need to get in touch with you—spouse, kids, etc.—set up your Do Not Disturb with exceptions for those few people.). Close your Internet browser. Close Facebook and Twitter. Close your email program if you use something like Outlook that isn’t web-based.

Can’t figure out how to get started sprint writing? Check out one of the previous Timer Tuesday posts for ideas.

Don’t forget to check in with your progress and how you do with your own 1k1hr writing/project time today!

Books Read in 2017: ‘The Madness of Lord Westfall’ by Mia Marlowe (Regency Paranormal Romance | 3.5 stars)

Monday, February 20, 2017

the-madness-of-lord-westfall-by-mia-marloweThe Madness of Lord Westfall (The Order of the M.U.S.E. Book 2)
by Mia Marlowe
Genre: Regency Paranormal Romance
My rating: 3.5 stars

Book Summary:
Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall is mad. Everyone knows it. He fell from a tree when he was a boy and woke to hear strange voices. When the voices grow stronger as he grows older, his family commits him to Bedlam. But what he hears are the thoughts of those around him—a gift to be used in service to the Order of the M.U.S.E. Until he falls again…this time for a totally unsuitable woman.

Lady Nora Claremont hides her heartbreak behind the facade of a carefree courtesan. Viscount Westfall is the most confusing man she’s ever met. He seems to know exactly what she wants…and what she’s thinking.

Which is a dangerous thing, because what Nora wants is Pierce.

And what she’s thinking could expose her as a traitor to the crown.

My GR Status Update(s):
02/12. . .Currently Reading

02/14 . . . 20.0%—Not sure I like the heroine in this one as much as in Book 1, but still an enjoyable story so far.

02/15. . .54.0%
02/19. . .68.0%
02/20. . .Finished Reading

My Review:
I seem to be in the minority of people on Goodreads who enjoyed the first book in the series, The Curse of Lord Stanstead, a bit more than this one. In the first book, both main characters had supernatural powers—she as a fire mage, he as someone who can psychically implant thoughts in and influence others’ minds . . . and who, if he gets close to someone, can dream about them (nightmare) and then tragically see that dream come to horrific reality.

In this second book, only the hero, Pierce, has a supernatural ability—to “hear” the thoughts of others. Apparently, he didn’t have it his whole life; it started when he was a child and fell from a tree and hit his head. How head trauma could cause a supernatural ability, I have no idea, so this origin of his superability didn’t really work for me; but I was able to suspend disbelief. Regardless of how Pierce gained the ability, it was overwhelming and confusing for him as a child and, as an adult and the heir to the Viscount Westfall title (and lands and money and social status), his uncle (his father’s brother and therefore next in line after Pierce) had him committed to Bethlehem Hospital—Bedlam.

Having met Pierce in the first book, the idea that he found being around others difficult was already well established. So it was more than a little surprising to find him almost constantly around other people in this book. Yes, he’s learned to erect a mental shield against the thoughts of others (thanks to his mentor and founder of the Order of the MUSE, Lord Camden); but I would have found this much more believable had the toll this took on him been given more than just a few passing lines about how exhausting/difficult it was for him to keep this shield up constantly. I guess I subscribe to the Once Upon a Time school of thought when it comes to magic or superpowers—they always come with a price (or, to put it in real-world physics terms, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction).

The heroine of this book, Honora, is also a bit implausible. And it felt like Marlowe originally started writing her as one type of character (a voracious flirt who’s always saying outrageous things, like the other courtesan in this series, Vesta LaMotte) as that’s how she appears in her first scene; but this side of her is never seen again. And that Pierce can’t read her thoughts the first time he meets her and can’t immediately tell that she’s not the person she’s pretending to be, much less not sleeping with her patron, is one of the worst examples in this book of how there seem to be no rules to how superabilities work in the MUSE universe. At other times in the book, he has trouble clarifying the thoughts of others because they’re scattered, too fast, or too confusing (compared to trying to catch squirrels by the tail in one scene—yet I think that was actually from Honora’s viewpoint when she couldn’t settle her own mind). Okay, fine. But to say that he can’t read someone’s thoughts because they’re pretending to be someone else (actors) . . . it doesn’t really work. Maybe not being able to filter between the real persona and the fake—or having the real thoughts so deeply buried that he couldn’t get to them, okay, maybe.

Anyway . . . Nora (Honora) turns out to be nothing like the way she’s introduced in her first scene. In fact, she’s pretty boring. Her “secret” is both obvious and not scandalous or dangerous at all. (Boring.) She’s not the flamboyant, sensual, free-spirited, outrageous person that she’s introduced as in her first scene; instead, she’s . . . someone with little personality other than wanting to have sex with Pierce and being slightly concerned that her patron’s (Lord Albermarle) secret that he’s being blackmailed over doesn’t get out. (And even here she manages to be boring.)

In Book 1, both Garrett and Cassandra were “extraordinaires”—and both had superabilities that could not only both help and hurt others but could destroy each other. She had to learn to control her power as a fire mage lest she immolate everyone and everything around her (including Garrett); and if he came to care for her, he could potentially bring harm/death to her by having one of his nightmares-that-come-true about her. They had to work together in order to both control and mitigate each other’s destructive potential, and that’s what made the story, and the building of the relationship between them, work so much better than in this one.

Conversely, even after Nora learns of Pierce’s superability and that he knows of the plot that her patron is involved in (because of the aforesaid blackmail), she remains a passive figure in the intrigue part of this story (the supernatural threat/mystery that the Order of the MUSE is trying to solve), being unwilling to help Pierce figure out a way to get rid of the supernatural item that is to be used for nefarious purposes—even though she knows what it is, where it is, and what it’s to be used for and probably had easy access to it the whole time. Instead, Pierce must put himself in both physical and mental peril in order to try to bring a resolution to this part of the storyline. By the time Nora does finally decide to act, it’s almost too late, as Pierce has already pretty much worked out just about everything by himself, and her appearance comes almost as a deus ex machina moment in order to bring the crisis moment to a quick/neat solution.

SPOILER (highlight to reveal) And what bothered me the most about this story was its conclusion. In escaping Bedlam, Pierce once again receives a blow to the head. He’s out cold for about a day (it was a week when he was a child). When he wakes up, he cannot read anyone’s thoughts anymore. I was SO annoyed with this! It’s just like the stories in which a character loses their eyesight due to a blow to the head/injury, only to receive another similar injury/blow toward the end and, miracle of miracles, they get their sight back. It’s a cop out and bad storytelling. (And now the character has even worse traumatic brain injury than they had before.)

I know I’ve focused mostly on the negative in this review. I did enjoy reading this book, for the most part. Marlowe is a good writer and tells a great story. She keeps the narrative/plot moving along and only rarely gets mired down inside a character’s head to the point that I started skimming—but this was usually only a few paragraphs.

This was enjoyable enough that I’m still really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Fun Friday: Another Ransome Spin-Off Story Idea

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fun Friday 2013

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on story ideas for the “next generation” of characters as a spin-off/sequel series from the Ransome Trilogy. You may not have seen others yet, so here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Working title: Her Independent Heart
This is the story that’s hinted at in the epilogue of Ransome’s Quest—the romance between Eleanor Ransome (older daughter of William and Julia) and James Yates (only son of Colin and Susan).

James Yates = Arthur Darvill
Eleanor Ransome = Karen Gillan (adjusted for hair/eye color)

Working Title: Secrets of His Heart
The romance story for Edward Ransome (older son of William and Julia), which involves the daughter of Sir Drake Pembroke, Cordelia (Pembroke) Eckley-Hibbitt.

Cordelia Pembroke Eckley-Hibbit = Holliday Grainger
Edward William Ransome = Tom Mison
Clara Eckley-Hibbitt = Catherine Steadman

Working Title: An Antiquities Affair
Telling the story of the eldest child of Ned and Charlotte (Ransome) Cochrane, Charles Lott Cochrane.

Charles Lott Cochrane = Chris Hemsworth
Olivia Ahern = Elsa Pataky

Working Title: My Fair . . . Lady?
Telling the story of the only daughter of Colin and Susan Yates, the Lady Marianne Yates; and the eldest son of Michael (a.k.a., El Salvador) and Serena Witherington, Michael Edward Witherington II.

Michael Witherington = Michiel Huisman
The Lady Marianne Yates = Sophie Turner

And now for the story that I’ve been working on for the better part of the last several days, featuring the fourth child of Ned and Charlotte (Ransome) Cochrane, Catherine Julia (“Kitty/Kit”) Cochrane.

Working Title: When First We Met

[Begin Backstory]

Kitty Cochrane = Jessica de Gouw

Kitty Cochrane = Jessica de Gouw

Four years ago, halfway into her second Season, Kitty Cochrane, fourth child of Admiral Ned and Charlotte Cochrane, was sent to Jamaica to stay with her uncle and his family on their sugar plantation. Though no one outside of the family knew why, she was sent to be protected by the distance the ocean provided. In the process of being one of the most sought-after young ladies of the London Season, Kitty drew most men’s attention. Including that of a man who became so obsessed with the belief that she was in love with him that he kidnapped her in an attempt to run away and elope. When she told him she didn’t want to marry him, that she didn’t love him (that she didn’t even remember meeting him), he was enraged and tried to strangle her. (Thus, she now cannot stand to have anything close around her throat—collar, necklace, scarf, etc.) she managed to fight him off and get away to get help. However, he disappeared before the constables could find him. Two nights later, back at home in Portsmouth, Kitty woke up to find him climbing into her bedroom window. Her vocal cords had not yet recovered from the strangling, but she was able to make enough noise throwing objects at him to draw her sister’s attention in the adjoining room—and to send him fleeing before he could be caught. Within a week, Kit was on a ship with her mother and older brother on the way to Jamaica.

Kit didn’t mean to stay in Jamaica for four years. In fact, she was certain a year would be long enough. However, occasional sightings of her stalker by the Bow Street Runners her parents hired over the next few years was enough for her to decide to stay put. And then, after a couple of years, she didn’t want to leave. She’d become part of the Ransome family, with her same-age cousin, Eleanor, who quickly became her closest friend and confidante. She even accompanied Eleanor to Philadelphia when Eleanor ran away to escape an arranged marriage. (See Her Independent Heart.) When Eleanor eventually fell in love with James Yates and agreed to marry him, the three returned to Jamaica for the wedding preparations to commence.

When her parents and siblings arrived in Jamaica, Kit learned that the last the detective had been able to track down about her attacker was that he’d been arrested and executed for a crime in the north part of the country. It was now safe for her to return to England. Kit was glad to hear this, since Eleanor had asked her to go with her, since she’d know no one else in Portsmouth when she returned with James.
[End Backstory]

Witherington House in Portsmouth is large enough that Kit has the entire third floor of guest rooms to herself, which alleviates any awkwardness of living with newlyweds. It’s a bit of a culture shock to return to England after so many years away. So much so that she’s almost physically ill at the idea of once again “debuting” into society. But, as her mother, sisters, and Eleanor remind her, at least it’s Portsmouth and not London. To ease the way into society for both of them, Eleanor enlists Kit’s help to plan a “small” card party at Witherington House, at which most of Kit’s family will be in attendance.

The evening goes fine, which helps Kit to set aside some of her anxiety—enough that she accepts an invitation to a ball a few nights later at the lavish home of the Dowager Countess Dalrymple (who was at the dinner) in order to be re-introduced to society. Lady Dalrymple’s guest list is always diverse and wide-ranging–from other aristocrats to many naval officers and genteel but solidly middle-class families like Kit’s. After dancing with James Yates and a few friends of her brothers’, Kit has finally started breathing easier and enjoying herself . . . Until she excuses herself to the ladies’ refreshing room after a couple of hours and finds herself alone and face-to-face with him. Although he doesn’t attempt to touch her, he is menacing and threatening, promising her that either he will have her or no one will.

Philip Grantly = Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Philip Grantly = Oliver Jackson-Cohen

She spends a sleepless night at her parents’ home, guarded by several burly men from the naval yard. The next morning, her father introduces her to Philip Grantly, a former naval captain (and intelligence officer) whom Ned has hired to finally find the stalker and bring him to justice (and protect her, but he knows his daughter too well to tell her that). Philip believes that the only way to draw out this man is to ensure that Miss Cochrane remains as socially active and visible as possible. Which, of course, means that he must attend all social events she’s invited to as well. How else will he be able to catch the stalker (i.e., protect her)?

When her attendance at social events doesn’t draw the man out, Kit comes up with a drastic plan. She and Philip will pretend to become engaged, with banns read, an announcement in the newspaper, and a ball in their honor held at Witherington House. The ruse indeed draws him out. He sets fire to Kit’s bedroom as he makes his escape. The fire is put out without too much damage, but it’s decided that Kit is no longer safe in the city. However, they still must draw him out somehow.

It’s decided that Colin and Susan Yates, Earl and Countess Childers, will host a house party at their sprawling Hampshire estate. (Colin says that the stalker would be doing him a favor if he burned it to the ground, as the upkeep on the oft-remodeled Tudor manor costs far too much.)

A week passes with no hint of the stalker. It’s decided that the only way to get him to make another attempt is for the men, including Philip, to very publicly put it out that they’re leaving to spend three days at Colin’s hunting lodge half a day’s ride from the main house.

And then . . . some bad things happen. It looks like Kit’s relationship with Philip may end/may never happen/may be torn apart forever. There’s a crisis. And there’s a happy ending. I just haven’t figured all that out yet. (And you wouldn’t want me to give away the whole story, would you?

Timed, Handwritten, Offline, Remote–It’s THORsday! | #amwriting #2017WritingGoals

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017-thorsdayOn Thursdays, we do an alternate version of Timer Tuesday—instead of challenging ourselves to sit at the computer and try to crank out as many words as fast as we can, the challenge is to get away from the computer.

What Does THORsday Mean?
It’s pretty simple. Our writing challenge for today is:

What that means is that for the length of time you designate (half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour, etc.), you will write by hand (on actual paper). You will turn off all of your Internet-connected devices (or put them away/get away from them). And you will find a remote spot in which to work—in other words, don’t do this at the same place where you usually write. Go into a different room. Go outside. If you can, get out of the house and go work somewhere else, like your public library or a coffee shop.

Otherwise, try to follow all of the [revised] suggestions that we use for regular 1k1hr writing sprints.

Leave a comment with your THORsday goal—when, where, and for how long do you plan to do your handwritten challenge today? If you’d like to, for accountability’s sake, come back afterward and post an image of your handwritten work.

Link to instructions for posting images in the comments.

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