Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, "Amadeus"

Today is my beautiful baby boy's 3rd birthday! He is the inspiration for the dog Amadeus in my novel Pulse and Prejudice - the only character created from someone in my real life.

"The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (pronounced peh-TEE bah-SAY grih-FON von-day-ON, and nicknamed the PBGV) has a rough, scruffy outline and distinctive long eyebrows, beard, and moustache. They are generally 13 to 15 inches tall, and their bodies are longer than they are tall. PBGVs were bred to hunt small game, such as rabbits, in rough terrain."  More About Amadeus

In honour of his birthday, I have a special excerpt from the novel below.  Pulse and Prejudice is the paranormal adaptation of Jane Austen's classic romance, which tells the story of Mr. Darcy - vampire.


To say Darcy did not care for animals would not have been wholly correct. He simply did not think much of them at all beyond their utilitarian purpose. He despised the recent fad of bear-baiting. His present condition notwithstanding, he found nothing entertaining in this gruesome blood sport. To horses, he attributed the spread of civilization; for without them man certainly would be constrained to a tribal existence. He also appreciated them on an aesthetic level, noting the strength and grace of a well-bred stallion and enjoying the hardened muscles against his legs when he rode. Dogs certainly had their place, in the hunt. He kept a variety of breeds—harriers, spaniels, and hounds—at Pemberley to assist him in various sport. Beyond that, he gave them little thought.

Thus it was that Darcy did not recognize the sound of rapid claws on parquet, which rang out when the butler opened the door at Calmet House. Following the play, the Comtesse had suggested they all return to her Mayfair mansion for a taste of her fine French brandy. Darcy stood in perfect astonishment as a short, wiry ragamuffin of a dog barrelled around the staircase and slid to a quivering stop at their feet.

"Amadeus!" proclaimed the Comtesse, at which point the animal immediately began barking in a loud and impassioned bale at the strangers before him. Darcy at first recoiled then felt foolish and composed himself. "Amadeus—être tranquille!"

Indeed, the dog appeared to understand, as the ear-splitting noise ceased and he sat on his rump, his white wiry tail sweeping semi-circles on the floor behind him. Darcy gaped in disbelief as the Comtesse de Calmet bent down to the animal and allowed him to lick her chin as she smiled and whispered odd French phrases.

"What manner of beast is this?" asked Fitzwilliam, a laugh in his voice. "He looks like a cross between a beagle and a...bristle brush." He and Georgiana both crouched down and scratched the dog on the head and behind the ears.

The Comtesse stood and gave up her cape and gloves to her butler. "He is a basset griffon vendéen."
"I am surprised she will even admit to you that he is an animal," said her son. "She behaves as though he is an infant."

After shedding their outer clothes, they followed the Comtesse into the saloon with Amadeus at their ankles. The Comtesse took her position on the settee, and the dog jumped up beside her. She bade her guests to sit then returned her attention to Amadeus, rubbing his head and neck, kissing his face, and accepting his quick licks on her cheeks.

Darcy took a chair across from her and knew not how to react. "Will not its claws harm the upholstery?" he asked.

"That would mean naught to Mamá," said the young Lord Calmet as he served the brandy. "He has eaten it once before, and she merely had it recovered." She ignored her son and continued to coo at Amadeus, who seemed to purr in response. "You know she allows him to sleep in her bed with her, on his own pillow."

"Pay him no attention, mon chéri," the Comtesse said to her dog. "Your brother is just jealous."

"You cannot call him my brother just because you love him more than you love me," he whined with feigned offense.

"Do not be silly, Monty. I love you and Amadeus the same," she said to the amusement of Fitzwilliam and Georgiana.

"And why do you call him Amadeus?" asked Fitzwilliam.

The Comtesse ruffled the fur on the dog's head then turned him to face the others so they could see his hair sticking out in all directions. "Does he not look like Monsieur Mozart?" Georgiana and Fitzwilliam broke into peals of laughter at the sight, and Darcy could not suppress a smile.

Although his mistress continued to bestow affection upon him, Amadeus must have sensed when the topic of conversation shifted from him to the play they had seen, and he jumped off the settee to investigate the strangers. He first stopped at Georgiana and allowed her to rub him about the head and face, his mouth in an apparent smile. A few minutes later, Darcy realized he was the next target.

Amadeus sat with expectation at Darcy's knee and peered at him through a fringe of fur, his black eyes edged with improbably long eyelashes. The silver and blond of his face spilled into golden hair on his head and ears, although the long ears were trimmed in dark brown. His elongated body, supported by comically condensed legs, was a patchwork of white and brown; and his tail, a long plume of white.

Amadeus stared at him with such intensity, Darcy began to wonder if he would need to entrance the animal to be rid of it. Before action became necessary, Comtesse de Calmet called to her pet. "Amadeus, leave Mr. Darcy alone." With a turn and a hop, he returned to his mistress for a scratch before launching himself up onto the sofa to seize a position next to Fitzwilliam. Finding success in eliciting an ear rub from Fitzwilliam, Amadeus settled down and fell asleep lying against the Colonel's leg; but even in slumber, he seemed to Darcy to keep an eye open.

This is not a typical "romance" type excerpt, but you can find those here .

(Check out the new 5-star review from Amazon Hall of Fame #13 top reviewer: "Mr. Darcy Makes the Perfect Vampire Hero" )

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Ever Go to The Movies To See The Previews of Coming Attractions?

Barbara Tiller Cole tagged me in The Next Big Thing. Here are my answers:


What is the working title of your book?

Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the sequel to Pulse and Prejudice, the vampire adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, which follows the just-wed Elizabeth and Vampire Darcy through the first two years of marriage.


What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Regency Romance 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If I could, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in their youth. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Interview with the Vampire meets Gone With the Wind 


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The publisher of Pulse and Prejudice, Secret Cravings Publishing, has the option on the sequel. If they choose not to exercise their option, it will be published by Southern Girl Press.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm STILL writing it! I have completed the first half, which is set in England, but now I have to take the story to Antebellum New Orleans for the second half.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm...I couldn't really think of any vampire Regency romances, especially when the hero and heroine are husband and wife.
I asked my daughter, and she said it reminded her of The Diaries of the Family Dracul series, particularly the first volume, Covenant with the Vampire. It's been so long since I read it, I'll have to read it again to see if I agree; but I cannot read anything for fun until I finish writing my novel! Plus, I wouldn't want it to influence my narrative. 
Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My daughter did not like how I ended Pulse and Prejudice, so I am writing a sequel to appease her.
The plot itself has been influenced by Shakespeare, Margaret Mitchell, Joy Division, and my own warped imagination. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Whereas Pulse and Prejudice remained faithful to Austen's narrative, Dearest Bloodiest Elizabeth takes the Darcys in a much darker direction, and although they are still recognizable as Darcy and Elizabeth, their personalities mature and evolve through their experiences. As Elizabeth says in Pride and Prejudice, "People themselves alter so much that there is something new to be observed in them for ever."

Tags are here for Barbara Tiller Cole who tagged me.
And also:

 Tag you’re IT now!

Rules of The Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Plotting Out a Pulse

Guest Contributor for Indie Jane

This year I have had two Pride and Prejudice adaptations published, but they could not be more dissimilar. Adaptations differ from variations, which take our beloved couple in new directions by veering off course from Jane Austen’s original plot. Variations actually are my favourite P&P “fan fiction” to read – all the “what if” paths for those frustrating points in the novel when I would scream, “Oh, if only!” or “Why didn’t he/she just say such-n-such?” or “Why is Lydia such an idiot?” Perhaps because I do enjoy reading them so much and derive tremendous pleasure in letting myself go in the realms of possibility created by those authors, I have had no desire to write a variation.

An adaptation, of course, could refer simply to recreating the original in a new form, say, film or stage. Here I refer to adaptations that take the basic plot, themes, and character objectives of the source material but put an original spin on it by changing the setting, the context, or even the characters. The plot of Pride and Prejudice conformed beautifully in the 1996 British retelling Bridget Jones’s Diary as well as the Bollywood film Bride and Prejudice. In my modern adaptation All My Tomorrows, I have moved the essential plot to the set of a soap opera in the twenty-first century, and the characters Alice and Peter bear little resemblance to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

A strong plot can be used to create a seemingly endless array of stories. Take this, for example: 

A young man living on an isolated farm with his aunt and uncle dreams of a life of adventure. He receives a message intended for someone else, but while he is out delivering the message, his aunt and uncle are murdered. He then leaves the farm and joins the fight against the regime responsible for their deaths.
I could envision this as a being a farm boy in Virginia joining the Rebels in the Civil War or a French peasant during the Hundred Years War or even a young Russian in 1812 going to fight Napoleon. George Lucas used this plot in a galaxy far, far away for his little film Star Wars.

Pulse and Prejudice, my paranormal adaptation, presented unique challenges – and opportunities! – because, whereas Miss Austen provides Elizabeth’s perspective, my plot unfolds primarily from Mr. Darcy’s point of view with the focus on his objectives, conflicts, complications and crisis. Oh, and he’s a vampire.

Although Miss Austen divided Pride and Prejudice into three volumes, it undoubtedly follows a four-act story structure. She even helpfully placed one of the major turning points – Mr. Darcy’s first proposal and revelatory letter – exactly halfway through the novel, as did I. In both novels, the inciting incident is the same: the arrival of the Netherfield party in the neighbourhood, although I think a strong argument could be made that it occurs when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet at the Meryton assembly. The other turning points from the original plot remain as well: The Netherfield party quitting Hertfordshire and the crisis that arises when Lydia runs away with Wickham.

As for character objectives, Elizabeth’s is clear. As she tells Lady Catherine de Bourgh, “I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness.” Marriage may or may not be a requirement for that objective, as she turned down two offers for her hand; but in refusing Darcy, she states, “I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” The reader then knows she has been thinking of marriage, and she specifically thought of marriage to him.

In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy’s objective does not become evident until that midpoint in the novel, for once he has been refused, his purpose is to change himself and become a man who can “please a woman worthy of being pleased.” When they meet again at Pemberley, as he says to Elizabeth, his object was “to obtain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see that your reproofs had been attended to. How soon any other wishes introduced themselves I can hardly tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you.” In short, his objective is to win the woman he loves.

In Pulse and Prejudice, the objective of Mr. Darcy is far more complex not only because he is the protagonist and we follow his story from page one, but also because of the vampire element. His objective is not to “get the girl” but to fill the emptiness caused by his curse without succumbing to his dark nature. Indeed, whereas Wickham might be considered the antagonist in Pride and Prejudice, in my novel Darcy struggles with his inner demons caused by his affliction. He is his own enemy.

Does the vampire Darcy ultimately achieve his objective? Mmm, yes and no. One must read the novel to find out! I will say both novels share the same climax – when Elizabeth says, "Yes."