Yes, the new book is still coming!
So, about that book I said would be out in April…
Well, it’s May. Best laid plans, and all that. When I released Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment in November, I thought I needed about a month to finish my new book set in Scotland. Instead, I’m still putting the finishing touches on it. It needs a few transitions, an addition to the epilogue, and some cutting before I send it off to my editors, but it’s pretty close to finished.
What happened? I got caught in the writing doldrums, spinning in circles, writing and rewriting and re-rewriting one section of the book. Then I had to change other parts to make them match, and then I did it again and again, and getting nowhere because none of it satisfied me. Eventually I was ready to call it quits on the whole book because I couldn’t get that one section to work, but fortunately, my amazing critique group refused to let me. They insisted I had to finish the book because they wanted to read the end! 🙂
I’m embarrassed to admit a big part of the problem has been my own expectations. My last two books, Conceit & Concealment and Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, were a hard act to follow. I’m particularly proud of them, and many readers have told me they’re the best things I’ve written. That’s all great, but, rightly or wrongly, I’m feeling rather intimidated about publishing another book that may not live up to those expectations. I’m trying not to listen to those doubting voices in my head, but sometimes I need a gag for my mental editor!
What can I tell you about the new book? It’s set in Scotland, part in elegant Edinburgh and part in the mysterious Highlands. The theatre plays a large role, as the main characters struggle with defining their roles in their own lives. The working title is A Matter of Honor, though I sometimes jokingly refer to it as Harps & Highwaymen. Any suggestions? About half of my titles were suggested by readers, because you’re usually better at it than I am.
I’ll start posting chapters soon, but here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite. In this segment, Darcy has a broken leg. Mrs. Graham is Elizabeth’s Scottish chaperone.
Mrs. Graham excused herself after an informal dinner in the drawing room, leaving Darcy alone with Elizabeth for the first time that day. Elizabeth had been particularly attentive to him at dinner, perhaps trying to distract him from the pain in his leg which was nothing to the ache in his heart. But the laudanum-laced wine had relaxed him enough that he could drink in the lively expressions that crossed Elizabeth’s face and the way her hair shone in the candlelight without too much thought of the future, as if intimate dinners with her were something that could be a natural part of his life.
Now Elizabeth walked past him toward the bookcase, the slight sway of her hips almost hidden by her woolen dress, the curve of her neck outlined by the moonlight from the window. A surge of desire nearly overset Darcy, the longing to run his hand along that silver-lit skin so strong that he had to fight to keep himself on his chaise longue, broken leg be damned. In that moment, being lame forever seemed a small price to pay for being able to touch Elizabeth, to feel the silk of her skin, the little shiver she would give at his touch.
Then she turned and met his gaze, and he knew he was not alone in his desire. She wanted him, too. There was hunger and yearning in her fine eyes, and, as they stared at one another in silence, a hint of despair.
She bit her lip and shook herself, as if waking from a reverie, and looked away. She picked a book from the shelf at random, clutched it tightly, and hurried back to her seat by the fire, never looking his way.
The ache in his chest was like a burning coal he could not ignore. “Elizabeth,” he said softly.
She hesitated before raising her head. “Yes?” Her voice was weighted with resignation.
“You cannot deny what is between us. Surely there must be some way we can work together to overcome whatever stands in our way.” He did not know why she might answer differently this time, but he could not remain silent.
Her hands tightened into fists. “Do you think I have not spent hours and wracked my brains trying to answer that question? But there is no answer. And trying to pretend otherwise only makes it worse.” Her voice caught. “Perhaps you have never before been denied something you wanted desperately, but there are very few in this world who have that privilege.”
His face burned at her reproof. “I have been fortunate, but I have faced adversity. It is not stubbornness but the strength of my sentiments which will not be denied.” Even as the words left his mouth, he knew it was the wrong way to approach her.
As she looked at him, her pain evident in the lines of her face, she opened her mouth to say something, but apparently changed her mind. Instead, she rose to her feet and hurried from the room, her skirts swishing around her.
“Elizabeth!” he called after her, but there was no response, just the sound of her feet on the steps.
Devil take it! She knew how much he hated it when she walked away in anger and he could not follow her, could not do anything but wait for her to return. If she did return. He pounded his fist on the arm of the chaise longue, wincing at the pain as the movement jostled his leg. Damn it! Why could she not have stayed and talked to him?
He heard footsteps outside the door, but it was Mrs. Graham’s quick footsteps, not the soft sound of Elizabeth’s slippers. The older woman hesitated in the doorway, looking back in the direction Elizabeth had gone, and then turned to Darcy with an exasperated expression. “I cannot leave the two of you alone for even a few minutes!”.
“It is nothing,” he said automatically. Another reproof was the last thing he needed.
“From what I saw of Lizzy’s face, it did not look like nothing,” she said tartly. “I will give you one piece of advice, whether you like it or not. When a lass says no, you must take her at her word. Show her that much respect.”
“I have the greatest of respect for her,” he said stiffly. But he had not shown it. She had begged him not to press her, and he had not listened. What a fool he had been!
What do you think? Words of encouragement for my ailing muse? Any clever title ideas? 🙂
Okay. Yes, Enchantment was a tour de force. And I didn’t think you could top Conceit & Concealment. Well both of those were very different from each other and also from previous books too. I guess I’m trying to say is that due to the setting and situations this one will be different too. So, I’m not going to compare and I’m willing to wait for however long it takes. So please relax and let your experience tackle that ornery muse when it tempts you to doubt yourself.
Wow, this excerpt. It leaves me with tons of questions. What happened before? Is Lizzy operating under false information (as usual?) Why are they in Scotland? Why does she have a chaperone we’ve never heard of before? Why are they living in the same residence? Will Lizzy’s chaperone help him understand her? My mind is reeling. My usual, automatic thing to say would be ‘I can’t wait!’ But I just said I could wait. So instead….I’ll just say I’m so excited to read this. Truly, an Abigail Reynolds story is always worth the wait.
P.S. Happy Mother’s Day. I hope it was beautiful for you.
Thank you, Michelle. It’s actually a relief to have finally said that I’m having a hard time following up on Enchantment and C&C. I appreciate your way of looking at it.
As to your questions, I’ll just have to say wait and see to most of them. Hopefully I’ll post the opening chapters soon!
I feel every word you wrote about a stubborn muse, Abigail. Sometimes, I wonder why I ever started a particular story but love the feeling once it’s complete. Press on, dear author!
Title suggestions? Let’s see. How about:
Wit & Whisky
A Lad & His Lassie
His Bonnie Lizzy
The Responsible Rogue
The Darcy Clan
The Highlander/Outlander (they have a nice ring to them, don’t they?)
Tartans & Tribulations
The Gentleman Wore Plaid
The Laird & His Lady
Kilts & Kittens (my nod to Pfeffernusse who surely has a cameo)
Bound By a Blacksmith
Personally, I would use none of these but the idea of Darcy in a kilt (even with a broken leg) is something to ponder for a long while. Best wishes for a successful wrap up of this particular project.
Wow, you’re good at this titling business! I like Tartans & Tribulations in particular. Unfortunately, we don’t see Darcy in a kilt because they weren’t actually wearing them in the Highlands in 1812, despite all the novels we read. I kept trying to ignore that historical fact, but my muse doesn’t let me ignore history. I’m contemplating adding an epilogue set in 1822 solely because I’d have the excuse to stick Darcy in a kilt then. 😉
The token animal in this book is a three-legged sheepdog named Bonnie Prince. I thought Pfeffernusse deserved a book off after how hard she had to work in Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment.
Ha ha! NOT!!! Titles are like blurbs, the hardest part of writing.
No kilts? I understand why you aren’t doing it but…I’m in mourning.
oh…! No kilts… gosh. I’m too in mourning, then
I cannot suggest titles because I have not read enough to read However, this is very intriguing and definitely keeps my interest. Will Darcy try a kilt with a broken leg? Why is Lizzy in Scotland? I know there was an exerpt full of anst for Darcy back on Sept. 10th, and no one willing to say where Lizzy was. He seems to have found her with trials on the way. I gotta see more of this.
The great disappointment of this book is that I can’t put Darcy in a kilt because it isn’t historically accurate. They weren’t wearing them in 1812. Kilts didn’t make a comeback until 1822. Unfair to writers, that’s what I say! The reason Lizzy is in Scotland was to keep Darcy from finding her, and as you can see, that didn’t work out so well. 😉
I am glad that Darcy found Lizzy in Scotland. Was it her family or Lizzy who did not want him finding her? Ah well, there is a lot to see?
Maybe the title could tell something about A Bonnie Hidden Lassie and a Determined searching Laddie.
Thank you for sharing.
I’ll tell you this much: it wasn’t Lizzy’s idea. She knew he’d take no as an answer, so she had no reason to be afraid of him. 🙂 Good idea about incorporating those ideas into the title!
My best wishes for your new book!
Personally, I have a hard time picturing you writing something that are not absolutely fabulous so muse, press on…
Sometimes, the book is just different and that might not be a bad thing.
I love Highland books and I am eagerly anticipating the release.
Suggestion for a title
The Highland Pride
I like that! Thanks, Elin, for the kind words. 🙂
Please don’t be disheartened! I have loved all your books and I must admit my favourites are the first three of yours that I read – To Conquer Mr Darcy, Mr Darcy’s Refuge and By Force of Instinct.
I’m sure everyone has their own favourites so this will be a favourite as well!
That being said I myself can’t wait to read it. I’m rubbish at coming up with titles but I do like Joy’s suggestions (and looking at the comments on Facebook? Well Darcy McDarcyface is certainly catchy 😊🤣
Thanks, Glynis. I hope this will end up as someone’s favorite, too!
I can’t help you with the titles (my friends found all my stories’ titles so far) but what I can tell you is this: no story is like the previous or the next one and that is great because it shows a writer who doesn’t copy herself, a writer who risks to get outside her comfort zone. Sometimes doubts show one does a good job.
Your book, The Last Man in the World, in particular, made me buy my first ebook years ago (and I can’t begin to describe where that led to 😛 )
I don’t write JAFF but I read it and I always appreciate writers who treat it fairly and honestly: bringing their own creativity in the genre, experimenting and pushing the boundaries.
I wish I could help more….
I’ve had so many readers ask for another book like To Conquer Mr. Darcy or like Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, and every time I try to oblige, I get a ferocious case of writer’s block. My muse is willing to take direction to small degree – I can get away with deciding to write another Regency rather than another modern because Regency sells better – but if I start getting down to specifics of what should be in a book, bam! The door slams in my face. So I don’t have much choice but to keep writing different things, and that does lead to doubts. And pushing boundaries. Thanks for understanding!
No help with the title but so glad you have another book!!!! It sounds very intriguing.
It hadn’t occurred to me previously but I can see that the downside of having written so many wonderful books must be having the pressure of feeling the expectation of readers that the next book would be just as good or better.
As for your title game, here are some suggestions 🙂
Mr Darcy’s Highland Games
Mr Darcy’s Highland Hunt
Mr Darcy’s Highland Hopes
Mr Darcy’s Caledonian Chase
I’m afraid all these titles focus on Mr D, but I am guessing that it helps sales!
Thanks for the ideas! I think it does help to have Darcy’s name in it.
I have loved all your books and have read many of them over again. Sometimes I just go back and read certain scenes. This has me drooling for more…please. But I will also wait. It is always well worth it with your stories. I am no good at titles. Joy certainly had a lot which sounded good. Maybe she’ll use one and write another new one for us. The questions Michelle H. wrote are all good ones. Thanks for sharing and I do hope your muse wakes up for you.
Thank you, Sheila. Loyal readers like you help keep me inspired to write. 🙂
To the Ends of the Earth
Darcy’s Highland Quest
His Highland Pursuit
Pursuit and Patience
I’m rubbish with titles; I’ve only had one decent title for one of my books, but the rest came about with the help of friends and critique groups.
You have indeed outdone yourself through the world-building of the last two books and I adored them, but I’m ready for a bit more down-to-earth tale in the usual period of history without French domination or mages around every corner. I’m really looking forward to this one.
My solution to writing frustration is to take a break from writing. Preferably, a whole week without writing. Do other things you enjoy that aren’t word-related (except for reading in a very different genre). I find that physical work is helpful such as gardening, cleaning the house from stem to stern, decluttering, etc., and you may just return to writing refreshed and reinvigorated. 🙂
Wishing you all the best!
Just having a clearout in my Austen Inbox (Real Life means I haven’t been able to pay much attention to it lately) and came across this notification. How intriguing is this excerpt? I’d read the earlier one where Elizabeth arrives at the Highland house so I’m wondering how Darcy (a) finds her and (b) ends up with a broken leg. I guess the two are linked!
I’m not much good at suggesting book titles but how about Hopes and Highlands? It’s all I can come up with, I’m afraid.
Like many others, Conceit and Concealment is my favourite so far of your books, though I’ve yet to read Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment. However, I’ve just spent part of a gift card I won recently on it, so it’ll be next up on my reading list.
Dear Ms Réuni les, I’ve read all your books, and most of them repeatedly! I really enjoyed the excerpts: I was hooked from the start! May I suggest “Gone in the Highlands” as a title?
A title? Ohmmmm… the guy who was supposed to be my yoga teacher while I think about a good title flew, but I’m ok with it, he was so annoying AHAHAH…
“Hide and Seek In Scotland” is the only potential title I can think about. Hope you recover from this ‘writer block’!
Late to the conversation but I am never good at titles…only one reason why I am not an author. But so looking forward to your next book. This little excerpt was a tease. Darcy can’t go after her so it is more or less at her will that they even are together for a conversation. Hope your muse has been attentive and whispering in your ear.
Titles assume Darcy went north specifically to find Elizabeth:
Pursuit and Persistence
Resistance and Persistence
Although, frankly, I actually LIKE “A Matter of Honor”.
Any further updates?
Hannah, your comment raised my guilt index enough that I actually finished the story, sent it off to the first set of beta readers, made corrections, and it’s now with the second set of editors. I’m guessing on an early September release, but if there aren’t a lot of edits, it could be sooner. We’ll see!
Thanks for giving me the push I needed!
That’s wonderful news. I’ve been hoping it will be released for my holiday end of August but for your wonderful books I’ll happily wait.
What wonderful news!
Arrogance and exile, exile amid ruins, highland exile, Bias and Banishment, Caledonian caprice, Scottish Vagary, North from Pemberley, Integrity and Illusions, Mr. Darcy’s Agony
Maybe need a few chapters to decide what needs to be captured by the title, anytime you want to send a review copy my way I will gladly come up with names all day. 🙂
Can’t wait to read this one!
Hello! Could you do a current, complete list of the title changes of your existing books? I’d love to understand which ones are reissues of which titles. Thanks so much
Only my first 5 books were retitled when they were published by Sourcebooks. Here they are:
Impulse & Intiative = To Conquer Mr. Darcy
Pemberley by the Sea = The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice
What Would Mr. Darcy Do = From Lambton to Longbourn
Mr. Darcy’s Undoing = Without Reserve
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World = The Last Man in the World
Sorry about the confusion! I had no choice in the matter, unfortunately.