Schemes of Felicity Release Day

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The authors and everyone at Meryton Press have been excited about the novella series, “Skirmish & Scandal,” and we are eager to start sharing these stories with the world! Each is a stand-alone book, and there is something for everyone!

To kick off the series, Suzan Lauder’s Schemes of Felicity is the first to be released. It is a delightful read, and as usual for Suzan, it has a charming Darcy! The first excerpt for the novella is posted on this blog, so you will get a sampling of the story shortly.

There is some swag, courtesy of the author, and Meryton Press has some eBooks. More about both giveaways later!

Before turning this over to Suzan Lauder, let’s take a look at the back cover copy.

Schemes of Felicity Back Cover Copy

A month to find a mate!

Mr. Darcy desires marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but he ruins any such prospect during his proposal at Hunsford. The resulting general sense of malaise interferes with his usually amicable yet stately demeanour, and his Fitzwilliam relatives resolve that Darcy is lonely—he must be in want of a wife. His cousins convince him to leap into the London Season for one month and partner every lady they select for his felicity.

At Longbourn, chaos erupts as Mr. Bennet undergoes a transformation, and Jane and Elizabeth receive the gift of a month in town to enjoy the Season. Meanwhile, Elizabeth pores over Mr. Darcy’s Hunsford letter and wonders about him, warmed by his words.

It’s only a matter of time before the two meet again in this Pride and Prejudice novella. But will their encounter be a repeat of the earlier disaster, or will they overcome their tenuous history? And can Elizabeth’s credentials pass the stringent criteria of the scheming Fitzwilliam cousins who direct Darcy towards the single daughters of every peer of the realm?

When Janet Taylor approached me about a Meryton Press compilation of longer short stories many moons ago, I was almost going to bow out due to an uber-busy schedule and a lack of ideas. I thought about it for what seemed like ages, but when a concept for a relatively easy-to-write piece came into my head, I couldn’t resist. At some time during the period, Janet’s idea had become a series of novellas called Skirmish and Scandal, and I told her I was in. I wrote this book in tandem with a novel I was already working on and three other demanding writing-related projects.

Schemes of Felicity is not your typical Suzan Lauder book. Instead, it’s a light and pleasing story that scores low on the angst factor and high on the sweet romance factor. I’ve been told it’s an easy read, which translates into a book that should be easy to review—I’d love to hear reader opinions.

The original title was not that interesting, and thanks to my editor, Ellen Pickels, a phrase from Chapter 25 of Pride and Prejudice became the clever title for the novella: Schemes of Felicity. This book is a sideways fit into the Meryton Press novella series theme of Skirmish and Scandal with its own definition of each. I’m proud to open the series with my fresh, new release and pave the way for unique offerings from the many fascinating and gifted Meryton Press authors participating.

The majority of the story takes place during a couple of weeks in April 1812. The dreaded Hunsford proposal has come to pass, and a series of events places Darcy and Elizabeth separately into the height of the London Season. I had a blast writing this novella, especially the new characters of the Fitzwilliam cousins, who play a strong role intervening in Darcy’s life as matchmakers. The excerpt shows a little of what the poor man has to endure!

Lady Christina chattered away about herself during the whole of the two dances, and even stopped mid-sentence then continued when they had to separate. She was a fine dancer, elegant and capable. Many of the ladies he chose to ask to dance were similar to her: of medium height, slim, with dark hair and dark eyes, and he had also singled out those who preferred to laugh. This particular young lady had been asked for a set before the conversations had begun, and the lace distraction had been solved during the break.

What would the dance be like if Elizabeth had been the lady he twirled in the Quadrille? Then he would not waste his efforts dancing with all these other ladies; instead, he would place all his energies into charming her the best way he could. Whom was he fooling? She must detest him now. Even though her worst complaints had been challenged by his letter, how could he ever comprehend what she thought of him other than her claim of disapproval?

But her sparkling conversation would have been a boon to his evening in comparison to the dull, continuous repetition he had heard from Lady Christina about no one but herself. Elizabeth would tease him if he were taciturn, encourage him to join in on her observations of folly, and in general, improve his outlook. Those were the express reasons he loved her so much: her generous personality. He longed to have her close to him again, but how would that ever happen? She was enjoying her country life in Hertfordshire, and he was in London, suffering the Fitzwilliams’ meddling in finding him a wife from the ton. The happenstance that joined Elizabeth and him together was over and would never be seen again.

That was the key to this fiasco. If he could not marry where he loved, what was the point of all these machinations? Would he be forced to find some lady from frequent dances when he already knew whom he wanted to marry? Why should he subject himself to this madness? His own heart knew he could not marry merely to make a match for convenience’s sake. No lady would measure up as a helpmate or conversation partner, so this attempt at selecting someone to improve his spirits was at best a waste of his time. Only one lady could improve his spirits, and she was set against him.

This train of thought circled Darcy’s brain as he again joined his family between dances. With renewed vigour of his own defence, Darcy approached the Fitzwilliams, who had congregated once again with grand smiles upon their faces, expectant of some kind of report from him.

“Lady Christina is surely an interesting conversationalist,” said Juliet, “is she not?”

“If one is interested in the precise colours of each item in each room of her mother’s house, the selection of which she was personally responsible,” said Darcy drily. “I should rather listen to my horse than that lady.”

“Oh no!” said Lady Matlock. “She is usually such a lively young lady, full of interest. What a pity she chose to be tiresome tonight. Mayhap she was nervous.”

With a strong effort to refrain from rolling his eyes, Darcy responded. “There were no nerves about her. She was doing her best to astonish me regarding her taste in between telling me how important her connections are.”

“Of course, she wanted to make a good impression,” his aunt said. “You are the catch of the Season.”

“Some sort of fish, I imagine.”

Courtland made a noise not much different from a horse’s snort. “Or the flag in the battle.”

“Aunt, cousins, I am through. This is a fool’s game. I am fatigued with the never-ending line of so-called suitable ladies who are all cut from the same cloth. This torture does nothing for me.”

“But why?” said Lady Matlock. “Why now?”

His cousin Juliet grasped his coat sleeve. “You cannot miss the dinner tomorrow. Lady Sheffield will not be able to find a man to replace you at such short notice, and we must have equal numbers of each sex to balance out the table.” She tugged the fabric. “And the theatre—you love the theatre. Next, the Woodhaven ball is said to be destined to become the triumph of the Season.”

The dinner and the theatre would not be mere social events but further attempts at matchmaking. Those Darcy could manage with more equanimity. He could ensure that Bingley would attend the large dinner, and at some point in the evening, he could apprise him of his newfound information about the steadiness of Miss Jane Bennet’s heart. As for the theatre, Darcy could hide in his box. “Fine. The Sheffield dinner and Shakespeare. After that, I am free to seek a wife on my terms. But no more balls. I draw the line there. Nothing short of actual war is a greater offense to me than the combat of the marriage mart that takes place at a ball.”

As he completed his ultimatum, he could not miss the glances that went from one Fitzwilliam to another. They were preparing for another stage in their plot. As much as he hoped he was free and clear, this campaign was not over.

What do you think? Are you ready to read more? What about Darcy? Did you fall in love all over again? I did! 🙂

The book is available on Amazon as an eBook, a Paperback, and on Kindle Unlimited.

You also have a chance to win a copy. Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of Schemes of Felicity. Two lucky readers each have a chance to win an eBook, and the giveaway is international. Share your thoughts to enter both giveaways.

Suzan Lauder’s giveaway has some neat swag, and the giveaway is international. Thank you, Suzan.

The giveaway consists of: 2 – Suzan Lauder Bookmarks; 1 – A Most Handsome Gentleman Book Bead; 1 – £10 Jane Austen note; 1 – refrigerator magnet (*Plate not included)

If the winner is from Great Britain, a gift of equivalent value will replace the £10 note. If you already have the eBook and only want to enter for the swag, be sure to mention “swag only” in your comment.

Both giveaways will end Thursday, August 13th, at midnight Central Time. Good luck to everyone!

Other books by Suzan Lauder

72 Responses

  1. Kelly Miller
    | Reply

    Congratulations Suzan! I’m so happy that you found time away from your other projects to write this novella! I loved the excerpt, which shows off your writing talent and entices us to want to read more. This sounds like the sort of P&P variation that is certain to appeal to all JAFF fans!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you, Kelly, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts about Suzan’s writing and the excerpt. We are all happy that Suzan found time to write this delightful novella.

      • Dung
        | Reply

        Congrats on your newest release. I enjoyed your other books and look forward to reading this one too!
        Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

        • Meryton Press
          | Reply

          Hi Dung. We’re happy you dropped by. Hope you get to read this one soon!

        • Suzan Lauder
          | Reply

          It’s good to hear when I reader has enjoyed your books, so thank you very much, Dung. Good luck on the draw!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thanks, Kelly! I like your books, too, so I’m honoured that you’d take the time to comment. You’re right, this book is the sort to appeal to many types of readers.

  2. Katie
    | Reply

    What a captivating excerpt! I can’t wait to read more! Congratulations on the new release!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Wasn’t it a good excerpt! We hope you get to read the rest soon! Thanks for visiting and good luck!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      I had a hard time cutting that excerpt short, because the part just before and after it are good too. Thanks for your good wishes, Katie.

  3. Michelle David
    | Reply

    That sounds marvelous. I’d love to enter both giveaways

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We hope you enjoy it and get a chance to read it soon! Good luck!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Best of luck on the draws and I hope you enjoy the book, Michelle!

  4. AnaDarcy
    | Reply

    I like how honest he is with himself about marrying somebody else but I really want to start the book and read how the Fitzwilliams are annoying at best! Poor Darcy 😀

    (sway only, thank you)

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      The Fitzwilliams are annoying! You are right, poor Darcy! You will be entered in the swag only, Ana. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Hi, Ana! Those Fitzwilliams intervene to make Darcy’s life difficult, that’s for certain. Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck in the draw.

  5. Susan Meikle
    | Reply

    Don’t believe the Fitzwilliams can be annoying. Why has Darcy still not told Bingley about Jane, unforgiveable

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      It is all done in a caring way, Susan, and is quite delightful to read! Good luck!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      You are a difficult one to please, Susan, since poor Darcy has barely been home a week and it’s only page 49. Are you a Fitzwilliam? Hahaha! Thanks for the comment!

  6. L.L. Diamond
    | Reply

    Congrats, Suzan! It’s such a fun and light-hearted story! I know everyone will love it 🙂

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      I agree, Leslie! 🙂

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Leslie has a secret–she’s already read the book. Thanks for the fun comment! We’ll put you in the drawing for the swag only.

  7. Sheila L. Majczan
    | Reply

    Congratulations and best wishes on this release. I am now reading it but only up to the second chapter. Sounds intriguing.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We are happy to hear you are reading it, Sheila! Thanks for dropping by and letting us know!

      • Mary Campbell
        | Reply

        Congratulations, Suzan, on your new release. I have added it to my wishlist. I can’t wait for Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth to meet again. Thank you for the chance to win a copy and some swag, also.

        • Meryton Press
          | Reply

          You will love reading about Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth meeting again. It is delicious! We’re happy you stopped by.

        • Suzan Lauder
          | Reply

          I hope you have good luck with the draw, Mary, and agree that Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth must meet again. Cheers!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      I presume that between your commenting and my reply, you’re a bit farther. I hope you’ve enjoyed all you’ve read, Sheila, because your good opinion means a lot to me. Thank you!

  8. Sophia Rose
    | Reply

    Congrats, Suzan!

    I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thanks for popping by, Sophia Rose!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Ah, a co-writer from back in the “Then Comes Winter” days! Thanks for the comment, Sophia. I hope you enjoy the book.

  9. Lynn Bischoff
    | Reply

    Congratulations Suzan! I am sure this book will be as intriguing and lovely to read as your other books. I look forward to reading it soon.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We hope you get to read it soon, Lynn. Good luck in the giveaways!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thanks, my Island friend. I’m blushing with your kind compliments. I hope you get a chance to read this book soon, too!

  10. J. W. Garrett
    | Reply

    Congratulations on the publication of this work. I already own two of your books [Alias and Letters]. The others are on my wish list and just recently, I read an ARC of Schemes. I love your work. Thanks to Meryton Press for the privilege of reading the ARC and, thank you for this generous swag giveaway. Blessings on the success of this new story. Everyone stay safe and healthy.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We hope you stay safe and healthy too, Jeanne. The book was a gift for your support! It actually released a day early, so we could gift it a day early too! 🙂 Thank you for coming by and commenting. Good luck with the swag giveaway.

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Oh, goodness, you do need to read the next two books in line besides this one: A Most Handsome Gentleman and The Mist of Her Memory. They’re quite different from first two, but special in their own way. I promise, my writing gets better with practise, though I have no favourite among the five.

      Meryton Press and I are so excited about this new series, Skirmishes and Scandals! MP sent out a few ARCs of Schemes of Felicity to supporters like you to celebrate. In addition, I decided to add a draw for a gift of swag to compliment the MP e-book draws. Stay tuned for other authors’ swag offerings as well.

      All the best to you, J.W., and stay safe.

  11. Debbie
    | Reply

    Congratulations on the new release. I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for sharing the excerpt.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We’re glad you stopped by, Debbie, and hope you get to read the release soon! Good luck in the giveaways!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thanks, Debbie, and best wishes on your enjoyment of Schemes of Felicity. You’re very welcome.

  12. Ceri
    | Reply

    Congratulations on the new release, and thanks for sharing this excerpt 🙂

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for commenting, Ceri! Good luck!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thank you! I do hope you get a chance to read this book in your busy schedule, Ceri!

  13. Jan Hahn
    | Reply

    Congratulations on your new novella, Suzan! From the excerpt, it sounds like Darcy will be forced to endure some heavy family interference. I fear his patience will be tried. What fun!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      You nailed it, Jan! LOL It is delicious fun, especially when Elizabeth shows up!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Jan, I love when I hear from writers I adore like you. Yes, those Fitzwilliams are going to interfere and poor Darcy is going to have to try to be patient. But how does Elizabeth fit into it? It will be fun–it’s a light and pleasing story! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. DarcyBennett
    | Reply

    Of course, I couldn’t help but love Mr Darcy and the line that he’d rather converse with his horse…brilliant. Thanks for the giveaways!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      I’m glad you loved Mr. Darcy, too. I laughed at the line about conversing with his horse. You are right, it is brilliant! Good luck!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Horse conversations are special. Thanks for the comment, DarcyBennett!

  15. Mary Preston
    | Reply

    I am absolutely ready for more. A must read for me.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Hi Mary P, we are glad to hear it! Maybe you will be one of the winners!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Oh, good. Best of luck on the draw, Mary!

  16. denise
    | Reply

    Congratulations! Happy Book Release!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Good luck in the giveaway, Denise.

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Denise!

  17. Patty Edmisson
    | Reply

    I enjoyed the excerpt. Poor Darcy knows what he wants. But how to go about getting her to love him will be the key.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We’re glad you enjoyed the excerpt.Darcy is in a dilemma, isn’t he!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      We all hope Darcy can make her love him over the course of the book. Thanks for the comment, Patty!

  18. Rita Deodato
    | Reply

    I just wanted to stop by and let you know how much I love the cover of this book, the premise and how much I’m loving The Mist of Her Memory, I’m currently listening to the audiobook and it’s hard to hit pause and get back to work because I just want to listen to it non stop 🙂
    Congratulations on this new release Susan, and best of luck 🙂

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Rita. We are thrilled to hear how much you are loving The Mist of Her Memory. I agree with your thoughts on it! We’re also glad you love the cover for the novella. All novellas of the series will have similar covers. We hope you get to read or “listen” to all of them! 🙂 Good luck in the giveaway!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Don’t get in trouble at work because of listening! Neil has such a nice voice!

      Once you finish The Mist of Her Memory, I hope you find a little time to open that lovely cover of Schemes of Felicity and enjoy it too.

      Thanks for your support, Rita.

  19. Agnes
    | Reply

    Congratulations Suzan! I like this premise, and the contrast between the opinion of the Fitzwilliams and Darcy on the ideal young lady in the excerpt. I look forward to reading this, and thanks for the giveaway chance!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Darcy already knows who his ideal lady is, doesn’t he. This is a fun story, Agnes. We hope you get to read it soon. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

      • BeckyC
        | Reply

        Wonderful excerpt. Oh Darcy! I look forward to reading how this plays out. Thank you for the giveaways. Always love a chance to win a book from a favorite author! (And I must say…I have had my eye on the JA note since it was released.)

        • Meryton Press
          | Reply

          That JA note is a neat gift by itself! We’re glad you stopped by, Becky, and happy you liked the excerpt! Good luck in the giveaway.

        • Suzan Lauder
          | Reply

          That excerpt is a fun one! I won a JA note a long time ago, so when I went to England I brought back two–one for the lady who loaned me her JA tour memorabilia for my trip prep, and one for this draw. Best of luck, BeckyC!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      I thought that difference of opinion after Hunsford would be as interesting as you did, Agnes. Good luck on the draw!

  20. Lúthien84
    | Reply

    Suzan, your new novella sounds like a brilliant story. I’m eager to read it and found out how Darcy and Elizabeth get together. And thank you for the giveaway too. I would love to own both the e-book and £10 Jane Austen note including the swag that comes with it.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Hi Sylvia! We’re happy to see you here. Your comment was just in time to make it in the giveaways! 🙂 We loved reading your thoughts on the novella! Good luck in the giveaways!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Thanks for your kind comment, Lúthien! I hope you get to read the story and find out what happens!

  21. Grace Gibson
    | Reply

    I can’t wait to read this story! I have it cued up in my Kindle for my next lazy afternoon of reading.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Hi Grace! Thank you for stopping by. We hope you get to curl up some lazy afternoon and read the novella!

    • Suzan Lauder
      | Reply

      Mmm. Your reading afternoon sounds divine. I’m pleased you’ll choose my book to enjoy it with. Thanks, Grace.

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