RIP Hyacinth Gardens

I get a fair amount of hits from people searching for the hallowed Gardens so I thought I’d post an update on what’s happening. I haven’t actively followed what’s been going on and only recently updated myself on the subject. It seems Hyacinth Gardens is gone for good, according to a statement made by Amber aka the Queen(I read this on the AHA board), she just cannot give the project the time and dedication it needs, which is fair enough. It was after all a doubly big undertaking considering alot of the back-up/archive was wiped, and as I understand the tech (jenna?) quit. I’ll miss Amber’s stories though and hope she starts posting and/or reposting on other sites.

As for other people’s stories, there is already there is a group of people on AHA making a list of authors who only posted on HG and I believe they are contacting them to see it they won’t repost on AHA or other JAFF sites. When I first read that HG was gone for good I was very upset, selfishly upset. Why? Because it was the only place I had my drabbles. I used to just write them on the go and I never kept copies, a few of them are posted here, but the site went down before I managed to post them all on my blog.  Then a couple of days ago I had a lightbulb moment, I had in fact e-mailed all my drabbles to a friend and I never delete my sent e-mail. Sure enough, I searched for drabbles on my e-mail and voila! there they were. Bless GMail, it’s the best! So now I’ll post all my old drabbles in the next week or so. They are not great works of literature, not even half decent but I like having them here, so don’t give me too much stick. I’m of course still sad that HG is no more, but there are plenty of great alternatives out there.

If you were a HG only goer and you’re now lost for a place to enjoy JAFF I would personally recommend A Happy Assembly(AHA) at Meryton.com or The Derbyshire Writer’s Guild at Austen.com, but there are many, many more so just google them and try them out until you find your perfect fit.

Good Luck

Advertisements

Catching up with JAFF

I’ve finally been able to catch up on some JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) stories. Since leaving the UK in November I haven’t had much time for the world of Darcy, Elizabeth et al., not only because I have had limited internet time, but also because my favorite JAFF site has been down. HG (Hyacinth Gardens) is sorely missed, although it looks like the site might come alive again in the next few weeks. Fingers and toes crossed!!!!
For now I’m getting my fix from AHA (A Happy Assembly) at www.meryton.com, a lot of my HG favorites post there and it’s given me a chance to discover a few I haven’t read before 😉 I’m trying to mix the more angst ridden stories with more fluffy ones, although I find both types make me cry for different reasons of course. I must say it’s getting a little annoying to always cry at the drop of a hat, but I suppose after 20 years of it I should resign myself to the truth, I’m a soppy, emotional, hopeless romantic.

I finally found the courage to watch The Duchess a week or so back, and predictably cried my eyes out. Not being a big Keira fan, I can’t forgive her Godawful Elizabeth Bennet, I didn’t want to watch her make a mockery of G.’s life, but thankfully she was REALLY GOOD (More than I can say about Kirstin Dunst as Marie Antoinette, but I won’t digress even further). Poor G. such a sad story, sad life. What really PI**ED me off when the trailers were showing last year was the Princess Di angle. Seriously what was the point of that? G.’s life was interesting enough, I would say far more interesting than Princess Di’s (although I love her too), and there should be no need to exploit Princess Di’s memory to get the cinema crowds in.

Anyway back to the original topic, JAFF. I’m currently reading a few different WIPs, mostly moderns as I tend to get annoyed with the Regency that get facts etc. wrong. Unless they come particularly recommended I stay away until they are complete and then browse the comments.
A modern story I’ve been reading for a while now is Miscommunication by JulietR, it was posted on HG until it went down, but luckily it’s also found on AHA. It’s a typical P&P (Pride and Prejudice) fan fic, with Lizzy and Darcy on center stage. However it starts on an interesting premise; Darcy has married his terminally ill cousin Anne, this is to give her a few good years away from Lady Cath and experience some good things before her time comes. Lizzy meets Darcy in Anne’s finally year, and Lizzy and Anne develop a sort of friendship. Then after Anne dies (well a while later, we do have all the usual problems, Wickham, Hunsford and so on), Darcy and Lizzy start going out. And that’s where we are at for now. Not sure how much is left now but it must be coming to a close I’m sure. It’s such a delight to read, and I really appreciate the footnotes at the end of each post, save me having to google things to find out what they are. In any case it is a story I would highly recommend. It’s low on angst, the times when it does look a bit dicey everything is quickly resolved. It is so well written, some chapters will have you laughing, others crying and some will have you doing both.
Another modern I’m reading is Forgotten First Impressions by Excentryke, which has recently cranked up the angst with a heartbreaking plot twist. The premise of the story is that Elizabeth is a single mother living in New York with her sister Jane and friend Charlotte. Her daughter Mabel is the result of one night of passion with a man Lizzy can’t remember, not really anyway, when she was in college. Enter Darcy who had his heart broken many years back by a woman he fell instantly for and shared a passionate night with. See where this is going? Well your guess would be right but the twists and turns that take us to these revelations are very entertaining. I won’t say more about it except it’s got a crazy, delusional Jane in it. I thought I’d seen the bitchiest Jane of all times in one of Amber’s (HG Queen) stories (can’t remember the name right now), but this Jane is just amazingly cruel. You have to read it, but if you are an angst weenie maybe you should stay away for a little while, the author has said things will start to resolve now but how quickly is anyone’s guess. I don’t mind though, I’d go mad without a regular serving of angst.
The next story I want to bring to your attention is Cherchez La Femme by Irene, another modern where a M.E. called Esther Brighton is framed by persons unknown and convicted of a drug trafficking charge. However instead of going to jail she is recruited by the CIA to work in a spec ops division, where she can put her M.E. skills to good use. Goodbye Esther Brighton, hello Elizabeth Bennet. I love the premise, it’s well written and well thought out, and I can’t wait to see how it all works out.
A modern with a different story and main character is The Modern Caroline Bingley by Excentryke. It features; you’ve guessed it, Caroline Bingley and starts the day before Darcy marries Elizabeth. I’ve only read two chapters so far, but eagerly looking forward to more (I know there have been a few more posted). Caro’s love interest (I assume) is a guy called Max, and he seems to have his own personal baggage. And Caro of course needs a cargo plane of her very own to carry all her baggage. As I said it’s promising, mainly because Caroline is made human and is not being passed off as some sort of ridiculous caricature. Definitely a story to watch.

I’m not only reading moderns though, I do find my way into the regency section. The regency I’m reading at the moment is a sequel to the exquisitely written Teurig by MAB, and is called Love Will Find A Way. The story starts a few months after Lizzy and Darcy and Jane and Bingley are married. An important government document disappears, and the puzzle solving sisters are called upon by the government to continue their work. The opening premise has some similarities with a Sherlock Holmes story, where his brother seeks his help to find a missing document which could possibly cause war. From there though Love Will Find… follows its own path; finding the document might be what they are working towards, but what happens on the way is far more important. Darcy resents not being included in all aspects of Elizabeth’s life, and Lizzy is scared that she will lose herself if she surrenders everything. While it’s a cleverly written mystery, which I know will be as exciting and entertaining as Teurig, it is also a story about the trials of marriage and how to make it work (well at least I hope they will solve that issue in the end), and I eagerly await all new chapters.

While I’m having fun reading all these new stories I am missing a few from HG. A Mother’s Favorite Wish is one of them; though I’ve heard it’s also located outside HG so I will go hunting for it in the next few days. Another story I need to finish, and I know it’s finished at DWG (Derbyshire Writers Guild), is Shem’s The End Is The Beginning…. The last chapter I read was at the airport in Manchester before flying off to Abu Dhabi in November, and I can’t wait to read the whole thing. The premise was very original and I’m sure there is an older post about it, so I won’t harp on about it. Once I’ve read it all I’ll harp some more though (so now you are warned).

Now I feel I should reveal my reason for returning to JAFF after my long absence. Well I bought a book called The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough. It’s set 20 years after the end of P&P, and from the back cover write-up had an interesting premise. Well I can only say one thing; it was a pile of crap. The author must really hate P&P; I can see no other explanation. I never finished it; it was just too damn depressing and not really that well written. The characters are caricatures, nowhere near believable or realistic. It was surprising really as McCullough wrote The Thorn Birds, which was excellent. So maybe her strength lies in creating her own characters and not altering other peoples, as a fan fiction writer (I don’t care how accomplished the writer is, if you take other peoples characters it’s fan fic) she kinda sucks. Well in any case, my meeting with that terrible book made me flee back to the warm and fuzzy world of online JAFF, where some true gems are hidden.

In my next JAFF post I think I might concentrate on complete stories, and maybe do a top 10. We’ll see.

Brain Washed – Drabblefest 12

Theme: People may love each other deeply, but somewhere there is a line to be drawn: “I’ll do anything for you, give up all that I have, EXCEPT….” Your task as drabble author: what is that line, and who refuses to cross it? And will they change their mind? Ideas: “I love you but not your cat,” “I love you but I won’t give up the remote control,” “I love you but please don’t sing to me,” “I love you but that was the last piece of chocolate!”

Brain Washed

Mr Darcy stood next to her holding her hand and cupping her face, “My darling, you know my feelings for you. I love you, dearly, but I abhor that orange colour you persist in wearing.”

Caroline gasped, “I had no idea my dear Mr Darcy. I shall never wear the colour again.” She was mortified, Caroline had always supposed orange was one of Darcy’s favorite colours, after all he loved tangerins. From that day forward though she burned her orange dresses and wore blues and greens instead, they seemed to be what the gentleman himself like the most.

Mr Darcy continued to visit her every night, though strange requests were made. One night he said, “I love you Caroline, but I think you need to give your niece and nephews some pin money, they are excellent children.”

Caroline who hated the little vermin was shocked, but she needed to keep Darcy happy, “Of course, I will give them a ten pound note each.”

Caroline was startled out of her dream by a fierce cry of “YES!”, and saw her two nephews and niece laughing in the corner. Instantly she knew what had happened, the children had been whispering these things to her every night. It had all been a dream.

Protecting the Innocent – Drabblefest 11

Theme: Who’s talking – is someone talking to himself/herself, or to others, or to a painting or other object, or to an animal? Is the person sane, lying, honest, sarcastic? And who’s listening…. is it a maid or butler, a parent or child, a villain?

Protecting the Innocent

Mr Bennet passed his daughters bedrooms on his way to his own bedchamber, from one room there were giggles and a lot of snorting. He shook his head, they were undoubtedly the two sillyest girls in England. From Lizzy and Janes room he just heard hushed voices, he was about to move on when he heard a gasp. His natuaral curiosity, which he had passed on to his favorite, made his stay outside their door and listen.

“…and the letter was so honest, giving me all the particulars. I cannot believe we were so deceived by Mr Wickham, to think he would seduce innocent young ladies, and as a means of revenge. He truly is the lowest creature. He would have eloped with the poor girl to Gretna, and all for her fortune. Thank God he was stopped. She was only 15 then you know,” Lizzy said animated.

“But perhaps it was not as bad as all that, might not the story have been exaggerated? Perhaps his sister did not tell the whole story, and he is unaware of this?” Jane said, though with little conviction.

“This will not do,” said Elizabeth. “You never will be able to make both of them good for any thing. Take your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. There is but such a quantity of merit between them; just enough to make one good sort of man; and of late it has been shifting about pretty much.”

Mr Bennet stayed no longer, but neither did he retire to his bedchamber. Instead he went again to his study and proceeded to write a letter.

To Colonel Forster,
_____shire Militia,
Meryton

Colonel Forster,

I have some disturbing news regarding one of your officers, specifically one George Wickham…

Mr Bennet sealed the letter, it would be delivered on the morrow, and then their neighbourhood would be rid of the man. He did not know who the poor girl Lizzy and Jane had talked about was, but he knew it could have easily been one of his girls if they had larger dowrys, and he would not let such a black guard loose amongst the innocent ladies of Meryton.

The softness of her kiss, the loudness of her scream – Drabblefest 9

Theme: The theme is KISS. The drabble must involve a kiss, real or imaginary. it can be any kind of kiss — romantic, “just friends,” even a kiss of death

The Softness of Her Kiss, The Loudness of Her Scream

“Oh Miss Elizabeth you must allow me to tell you how much I admire you. Almost from the first moment I lay my eyes on your alluring person I knew that you would have to be my wife, especially as Jane was already taken.”

The young girl infront of him blushed prettily and smiled at him, so he continued, “Might I ask you for a kiss, as a token of our engagement?”

She nodded.

He pulled her closer to him and leaned down, attacking her mouth with his own. “Oh Mr Collins”, he though heard her moan, and continued his attentions most ardently. Her lips wer so soft and sweet and her scream so piercing. Her scream?

Collins opened his eyes and saw to his dismay Mrs Bennet right in front of him, fighting him off.

“Mr Collins, pray remember I am already married,” she wailed.

Mr Bennet snickered in the background, “I always said the gentlemen might like you best of all Mrs Bennet.”


So whatcha think?

The End Is Where We Start From

Said by the ever wonderful Captain Jack Harkness of course and also the title of Shem’s new story which you can read at HG, remember you have to sign up to read stories there, but then the JA FanFic posted there is among the best there is.
But more of that later, the end I’m starting from is the end of A103. It’s been a long way coming, and I am so relieved to have it all done. Now I can consentrate on the creative writing which I’ve been harping on about for a while (oh had y9ou not noticed, sorry must aim to do more harping).
I bought the material for the course a while ago on eBay, and have looked at the different parts, but nothing in-dept. We haven’t got our materials yet, some problem at the printers or something, but I had access to the PDFs for a while so have had a look at the TMA etc, and they don’t look too intimidating 🙂
Being a bit bored today I thought I’d post my old HG drabbles, as not everyone will want to sign up there to read them.
Enjoy

Copyright © 2007-2011 Line Sletvold Finnan
wordpress visitor counter