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I was trying to figure out what I would blog about and I thought that, in honor of it being Wednesday (“Hump Day”) when you read this, I would find out something about camels in the Regency. So I Googeled Regency Camels. Sometimes the Internet surprises me.

The #1 Regency Camel related result?

Regency Camel Toe.

I am not kidding.

Of course I clicked. So should you. It’s safe for work except for the part where if you click it won’t look very work-related.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I almost died laughing. Camel toe indeed. Pink breeches!

It Gets Better

The link above will guide you here: Regency Camel Toe. Essentially safe for work except for the not working part.

Here is a picture of a real camel.

Via Adam Foster | Codefor

You may read about Camels here:

Yup. Sometimes the internet surprises me.

BLOG PARTY DAILY CONTEST! Comment on this post for the chance to win a copy of Elena Greene’s September release, LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE. (Comments may be posted through Saturday, January 14.)

I’m feeling very self-indulgent today. My New Year’s resolutions don’t allow me to pig out on chocolate, so I’ll treat myself and everyone to some eye-candy instead.

So here they are. As many cinematic Mr. Darcys as I could find. Enjoy!

Laurence Olivier (above left), playing Darcy opposite Greer Garson in the 1940’s version. Elegance and arrogance—almost (but not quite) good enough to distract me from the ridiculous leftover “Gone with the Wind” costumes worn by the actresses!

David Rintoul (right), playing opposite Elizabeth Garvie in the 1985 BBC production. I have to admit, he looked good but his acting was so very stiff, so haughty (not even softening much at the end) that I felt they could have substituted one of those lifesize cardboard figures (the sort you often see of Lord of the Rings characters, etc…)

Colin Firth (left), playing opposite Jennifer Ehle in the 1995 A&E version. The first Darcy to really work for me—kind of like my first love. What a gorgeous man, with such speaking eyes and such a sexy voice….

Ahem, moving along.

Orlando Seale (right), playing opposite Kam Heskin in “Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy” (2003). I once caught a few minutes of this Mormon reinterpretation, couldn’t watch it all, but it looked cute. As does he. If anyone has seen the whole movie, I’d love to hear your opinions!

Martin Henderson (left), starring with Aishwarya Rai in the Bollywood production “Bride & Prejudice” (2004). Intriguing, definitely on my “must rent sometime” list. Has anyone seen this? What did you think?

Matthew McFadyen (right), opposite Keira Knightley in the recent Working Title Films adaptation. Not a pretty boy, and a new interpretation of Darcy, showing a shyness and a vulnerability that I found very appealing. His performance grew on me even more on the second viewing of the film. I don’t know, Colin may just have to move over…

So who is your favorite Darcy? And why? The guest with the most original and/or passionate answer will win a copy of LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE.

Don’t forget you can still comment on the earlier posts to win books by Janet Mullany and Cara King. And be sure to enter the Treasure Hunt for a grand prize including books by all the Riskies!

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, 2005 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee

This weekend I attended a Michael Hauge Workshop. Michael Hauge is the story and script consultant who wrote the acclaimed Writing Screenplays That Sell (now on sale at Amazon), but his ideas about plot and character are equally applicable to writing Romance, which is why he’s become a sought-after speaker to romance writers.

Hauge conceptualizes Story as encompassing a transformation in the main character. I’m greatly simplifying this, but the hero (or heroine/or protagonist/or main character) of the story has suffered some kind of wound in his early life and has developed a defense to protect him from ever experiencing the pain of that wound again. This defense against pain works well, but it does keep the hero from satisfying some important need and becoming the person he really is inside. Hauge uses the term identity to define the hero’s defended self and essence to define the hero’s true self. A story is typically (not always) a character’s journey from identity (living in fear) to essence (living authentically). Plot comprises the steps the hero takes on that journey.

Are you following me?

Take a look at Mr. Darcy’s transformation in Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version, specifically. I would argue that Elizabeth is really the protagonist of P&P, but it is more fun to look at Darcy.

Darcy emotionally guards himself against people who merely curry his favor because of his money and status. It makes sense that he would fear this sort of exploitation. His sister just suffered Wickham’s attempt to marry her for her money, and Darcy thinks Jane Bennett wants to do the same to Bingley. No one is going to fool Darcy, however. Trouble is, he is so guarded that all anyone sees of him is an arrogant, aloof, judgmental man.

This is the Darcy Lizzie sees at the beginning of the story. This is his identity, to stay aloof from people lest they exploit him. Darcy is fully in identity when he tells Bingley that Lizzie doesn’t tempt him.

Through the first half of the story, Lizzie and Darcy are thrown into each other’s company. Just as Hauge suggests, in this first half, Darcy begins to show Lizzie glimpses of his true self – when Lizzie is staying at Netherfield, for example. Or at Rosings when he confides to Lizzie that he doesn’t find conversation easy, like she does.

Hauge calls the midpoint of a story The Point of No Return. For Darcy this is his marriage proposal to Lizzie. He is making himself vulnerable to her, but, at the same time, he is retaining his identity and the proposal does not go well at all. He can never go back to being indifferent to her, though. He’s expressed his regard for her. (I was going to say he exposed himself to her, but then I realized Janet would have a field day with that one!)

When Lizzie meets Darcy again, her words to him have obviously had an effect. He increasingly gives up his identity and shows more of his essence when with her – being gentlemanly at Pemberley, inviting her and her aunt and uncle to dinner, rescuing Lydia from her scandalous liaison with Wickham (by forcing a marriage), and restoring Bingley to Jane. But it is only when Lizzie refuses to promise Lady Catherine that she will never marry Darcy that he takes the chance to propose again. But this time he is fully in essence, telling her that all he did for Lydia was done for her.

Then, VOILA! Happy ending!

I love that I can apply Hauge’s concepts to specific stories. Now the challenge for me will be to use these same concepts to assist me as I begin my next book.

Do Hauge’s concepts make sense to you?

If you are writing, do you have a favorite plot or character format that you use? If reading, do you think of any of these elements when you read?

Isn’t that the most memorable marriage proposal of all fiction? Can you think of a better one?

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First, an announcement:
The winner of Isobel Carr’s book is

Dtchycat – email me with your mailing information at carolyn AT

In other news

My Next Historical is done and turned in and now titles Not Wicked Enough. The book that follows will be Not Proper Enough.

I leave you with this picture because in the post deadline haze it’s all I’ve got:

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Even charmed lives will encounter troubles along the way….
We welcome back to the Riskies Sharon Lathan, author of the bestselling novels Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, My Dearest Mr. Darcy and In The Arms of Mr. Darcy. Sharon also wrote a novella as part of an anthology with Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart, A Darcy Christmas. You can find her online at her website and at the Austen Authors blog.

Congrats on your new book and another lovely cover! Tell us about The Trouble with Mr. Darcy.

Thank you Janet, and it is a fabulous cover, isn’t it? I confess that at first I was sad to see the design changed from the previous four, but now I really love this new, exciting look!

The Trouble With Mr. Darcy is a slight departure for me although I am still the happily-ever-after, romantic gal so no worries there. (More on that in the next question). However, I wanted to explore areas of greater drama and difficulty with this novel. I moved forward in time in order to show Darcy and Lizzy as a couple further along in their relationship with some of the issues that arise as parents. I also wanted to deal with the mystery of Mr. Wickham and the history between him and Darcy. I knew it was time to do this and figured if I was going to go that route I was going to do it right! I think I have accomplished this with a great deal of bang and surprise.

Yet at the same time I carried on with my typical saga-style, living-the-life themes. Other family members, such as Kitty Bennet and Georgiana Darcy, are given their portions of the story. History and travel is covered as well with the Darcys moving through parts of Europe and celebrating Easter, for example. Glimpses of all the major characters are strewn throughout the book so the readers will know how everyone is fairing. There are a bunch of threads to tie up and events to cover besides just Wickham!

Do you ever consider writing about marital problems–for instance, Darcy getting a seven year itch, or an ex-mistress or illegitimate child showing up?

Believe it or not this is a somewhat controversial topic! From the very beginning I took an untypical approach in presenting a couple who are truly happy, in love, passionate, committed, and able to work through their issues. Many readers do not want to see this with Darcy and Lizzy, or believe it is impossible. Of course, many readers want to believe it is possible, and I am determined to give them this. So my version of the Darcys will never suffer what too many insist are the necessary woes and dramas. I simply do not agree that affairs, past indiscretions, waning desire, lies and deceit, constant bickering, disrespect, and so on are standard in all marriages.

Now, that does not mean I have a completely Pollyanna attitude! I show Lizzy and Darcy arguing many times, and in this novel particularly they do suffer a major difficulty that nearly brings the end of their marriage. Yet, they overcome, proving that love indeed does prevail and can grow stronger as a result. This is my belief and vision. I will never alter that approach.

In your bio you say you saw the movie first (Macfadyen/Knightley) and read P&P afterward. What was your initial reaction to the book?

I loved it! Yes, I saw the movie first – my initiation as it were. Then I watched the 1995 miniseries with Firth and Ehle. (Loved it!) Then I read the book, incidentally at the same time my daughter was reading it in her AP Literature class so we studied it together. All of this combined, adding in reading numerous discussions on web forums and various academic papers, to enhance my passion, understanding, and love for this story.

One of the things I have always enjoyed is talking about books (or movies) with other people and hearing their impressions. Everyone catches something different or has a varied interpretation or is moved by something unique. No one person will ever feel the same as someone else. That is the beauty of reading: It is a very personal experience. My initial reading of Pride and Prejudice was colored by feelings and impressions from the cinematic offerings, and each subsequent time I have read it I “see” something new. It is constantly evolving, so all I honestly recall from that first reading is awe at Austen’s use of language and hunger for more.

Why do you think people are so fascinated by Lizzy and Darcy and why is there such a demand for more about Austen’s characters?

This is a question some of the best minds in the business have attempted to answer and I am not sure anyone has been able to figure it out! It is rather insane when you look at the demand from a certain point of view. I honestly don’t worry over it. I know how I feel about these characters and figure as long as readers are caught up in the craziness I am content to add to it!

Tell us about other members of the Darcy family you’ve created. Do you have a favorite?

I have had a great time exploring the other characters, both those originally created by Austen and those of my own making. I felt obliged to give every last one a moment to shine at some point within my saga. Some, such as Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy, are Austen creations but so vague in her novel that they easily become a modern writers own character. Both Col. Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are favorites of mine and each have significant story lines within my novels. Of those that I have created from scratch I am partial to the Darcy children, all of whom were focused on in my Christmas novella. But the ultimate favorite is Mr. Darcy’s eccentric uncle, Dr. George Darcy. He is the bomb!

Do you have a particular location in mind for Pemberley?

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, home of the Duke of Devonshire, is my Pemberley. It was the exterior and partial interior used as Pemberley in the 2005 movie, but even if that had not been the case it is such an amazing manor that I think I would have chosen it. Of course I have tweaked it a bit to fit my story!

Which of other Austen’s books do you think might inspire spin-offs and riffs and improvisations as P&P does?

None of the others have taken the world by storm as yet, but I am seeing more of them given their fair due as time goes on and that is fabulous. Several authors, many of whom share in Austen Authors with me, have taken on the other novels. Persuasion is probably the next favorite, due I am sure to the allure of Captain Wentworth.

If you had the chance to meet Jane Austen through the wonders of time travel, what would you ask her?

Out of curiosity I suppose I would have to ask her what she thought of all this spin-off craziness! Of course, her response if in the negative (and I personally don’t think it would be negative) really wouldn’t change anything so is somewhat of a moot point! Aside from that I would simply want to chat, girl to girl, about men, life, family, literature, and whatever else ladies gossip about while sipping tea.

What’s next for you?

Speaking of other family members, the next novel due out in November, is Miss Darcy Falls in Love. It is the story of Georgiana Darcy. Completely set in France, with Darcy and Lizzy no where to be seen, it is wholly devoted to giving a now mature Georgiana of twenty years her chance to embrace her future. It is a romance, of course, but also the exploration of a woman at that time and what she could accomplish as an artist.

Continuing my love for secondary characters, the Darcys are going on hiatus for a spell as I delve into the life of Dr. George Darcy. My next novel, God willing, will cover the adventures of this incredible man spanning the thirty years he dwelt in India as a physician with the East India Company, culminating with his return to Pemberley and the surprising future he encounters there at the twilight of his life.

Thank you, Janet, for again hosting me here on Risky Regencies. History is my passion so no matter what my characters tell me to do with them, I will exert whatever control I can manage over their antics to make sure I highlight the world they live in.

Let’s chat about Mr. Darcy! Make a comment or ask Sharon a question and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book!

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