First things first … Thank you, Pam, for participating in the blog tour for my Meryton Press novella.
Pam and I have something in common, it seems. She’s a moonlight reader; and I moonlight as a writer, burning the candle at both ends.
It seems fitting that our nocturnal pastimes of reading and writing correlate with my novella. A Little Whimsical in His Civilities spans one moonlit autumnal night at an assembly, ending in the wee hours of the morning.
During the Regency era, there were no streetlights. Carriage lamps and torch-bearing servants provided limited illumination, but night travellers mostly depended on moonlight to safely guide them home. Assemblies and other evening engagements, therefore, were often planned to coincide with the full moon.
References to Earth’s satellite are made throughout the story, which is told entirely from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. He describes his friend as ‘a mooncalf’ (a foolish person) and a young lady as ‘moonstruck’ (unable to think or act normally, especially as a result of being in love). Little does Darcy realize he’s the exemplification of both descriptions.
More of his moony thoughts:
- Whilst we move through the steps of the dance, I halfheartedly listen to her prattle on with great energy about tonight’s wondrously romantic moon. Am I crying for the moon? Is Elizabeth Bennet as unattainable as that far-flung, celestial body?
- Since others have been waxing lyrical about the magnificent harvest moon that presides over the town tonight, I profess a great curiosity to view this lunar singularity. Elizabeth consents to accompany me, and I am … over the moon.
- I am exhilarated and awed by the nonpareil sphere suspended before us. Has there ever been a full moon as close or shining as brightly as this one? Rather than inducing lunacy, the luminous night has brought sense, joy, and harmony to my life.
- Like the appearance of the Earth’s satellite, Elizabeth has never been this close nor shone so brightly.
- Before entering Bingley’s carriage, I glance upwards and notice the harvest moon has risen high in the sky and now appears quite unremarkable. Yet that magical orb still presides over the most idyllic and extraordinary night of my life.
A Little Whimsical in His Civilities was written many moons ago, long before any consideration was given to enclosing it within a cover. Years later, after deciding to publish the story and once the editing process neared completion, I began an emailed dialogue with Ellen Pickels, illustrator at Meryton Press.
Me: Unless you have a better idea for the front, I’m picturing the silhouette of a lovey-dovey Regency couple with a starry sky and full, harvest moon in the background. It wouldn’t be a colourful cover, though, would it? Perhaps the sky could be indigo and the moon yellow-orange. What do you think? Of course, I’m entirely open to other suggestions.
Me (upon receipt of the proposed front cover): You nailed it, Ellen. I love it! Love the colours, love the fonts, everything!
Ellen: Now, what about the back cover? It’s rarely seen, of course—especially by e-book readers—but we should put something complementary there. Maybe a simple starry sky with a carriage in silhouette.
Me: Honestly, Ellen, if I wasn’t restrained by a seatbelt, I’d be doing a happy dance. I love that cover! I’ve looked at it five separate times already on my phone. You’re brilliant! And your suggestion for the back sounds perfect. We’re definitely on the same page.
Me (upon receipt of the back cover): Oh, Ellen! That’s absolutely brilliant! You. Are. Amazing. Love it! Thank you.
Me (days later): You know I love the cover, right? But something has been bothering me about Elizabeth’s silhouette. I can’t quite identify the problem, though. At first I thought it was her hair or that her neck was too thick or her lips too pronounced, but I’m not sure that’s it. She just looks too mature, somehow. Could you please give her a bit of cosmetic surgery?
Ellen: Yes, it was bothering me too. I think I was adhering too closely to an existing photo and not dealing with the silhouette as its own entity. Hope the attached—after “cosmetic surgery”—gives a better result!
Me (upon receipt of the revision): Perfection! Thank you! Now I’m 100% thrilled with the cover – front and back. You’ve done a fabulous job. Since you’re so skilled at cosmetic surgery, could you also give me a face lift?
Do you like the cover?
Obviously, I do. I’m over the moon!
A Little Whimsical in His Civilities by J. Marie Croft
Told entirely from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view, J. Marie Croft’s humorous novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities, spans one moonlit, autumnal night upon the gentleman’s return to Hertfordshire in pursuit of Elizabeth Bennet.
“We take the turning which places us on Meryton’s main road, and—oh, gad! There it is—the base-court building which passes for an assembly hall in this godforsaken place. For me, the venue shall be either a heaven or a hell tonight. My palms grow clammy, my gut churns, and I regret that second helping of onion-laden vegetable pie forced on me before we left.”
Accompany Darcy as he, intent on reversing the disastrous first impression he made there, braves another Meryton assembly and seeks to win his heart’s desire.
J. Marie Croft is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight (Meryton Press, 2013), her humorous short story, Spyglasses and Sunburns, in the Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summeranthology (Meryton Press, 2015), and her novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Meryton Press, 2016) bear witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter.
Blog Tour Schedule:
2/8: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
2/9: Guest Post & Giveaway at Moonlight Reader
2/10: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
2/11: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
2/12: Excerpt at My Love for Jane Austen
2/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
2/14: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
2/15: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
2/16: Review at Just Jane 1813
2/17: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
2/18: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
2/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
2/20: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
2/21: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
2/22: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
(Must be at least 18 years old to enter.)
***Images and text were provided by the author. Moonlightreader is not responsible for this giveaway.***