L.L. Diamond

News, Blog, and Stories

Can you believe it’s December already? It seems like just yesterday we were taking down our stockings from last year’s celebration. We all could always use more Christmas spirit, so Cristy Hulsz has put together an anthology of Christmas short stories in English and Spanish for everyone this year because they’re FREE! Yup! Free! Just click on the link below and download your PDF of the anthology in your choice of language. If you want, you can email it to your Kindle email and read it on your Kindle. Easy peasy!

And after you’re finished reading Cristy’s anthology, don’t forget that I have three fun holiday offerings as well! All on Kindle, KU, paperback, and audiobook!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Hi there! I hope everyone in the US had an amazing Thanksgiving, and now we have some giveaway winners to make the holiday season even more special.

Congratulations to those who won on this website:

DarcyBennet and EvaE

And Congratulations to the three who won from the Austen Variations giveaway:

Bambi, Mary Gerlach, and Paige Hale

Congratulations again and Happy Listening!

Yay! It’s so exciting to be able to announce that. If you haven’t read His Perfect Gift yet, you can still read it on Kindle Unlimited, Kindle, and paperback, but now you also have the option of audiobook with the wonderful narration of Stevie Zimmerman. If you haven’t already checked out the sample online, then I have a sample for you here!

Now! I have audiobook codes I can giveaway! On this blog post, I’ll give away 2 copies of His Perfect Gift on audiobook! Just leave me a comment and tell me what you love about the book or the sample and whether you need an Audible US or Audible UK code. Don’t forget about the region, because it makes it much easier when I notify you of winning 🙂

Happy reading and happy listening!

Most Regency authors have, at the very least, referenced or mentioned a lady’s maid in a story, even if we haven’t made her a confidant or important servant in our heroine’s life. She is often a useful character, who can be used to impart information about the household gossip, mend gowns in a trice, and coif our heroines so they stun our heroes with their beauty. But would a lady’s maid be as influential as we authors sometimes make her in a story and was her position a respected one within the household?

A lady’s maid is often referred to in fiction as an ‘abigail,’ which was indeed a term used during the Regency period. The term abigail is in reference to II Samuel, versus 24-28 when Abigail refers to herself as David’s handmaid on four occasions. It is unclear why one lady might prefer to use one term over another, though ‘abigail’ in research is referred to as slang.

Regardless of whether her employer referred to her as a lady’s maid or abigail, the lady’s maid reported and answered directly to her mistress. She was referred to by her last name and was, at times, called by the honorary ‘Mrs.’ much like the housekeeper. She was even considered on rank with the housekeeper, despite the fact that her wages were approximately half that of the woman who ran the household. 

An abigail was to be absolutely at the mistress’s beck and call. She helped her mistress bathe, dress, styled her hair, mended and ensured the mistress’ gowns were clean and pressed. She had to be trusted not only to keep her employer’s confidences, but also to care for the mistress’ jewelry. The lady’s maid fetched and carried, particularly when out on the town shopping with her employer. She also kept the same hours as her employer since she was required to help the mistress undress and ready herself for bed. The abigail could also be the eyes and ears for the mistress in the servants’ hallways when the necessity arose. Lady’s maids could be in the service of one mistress for decades and often cared for their employers when ill, which often made the lady’s maid a friend and confidante to her mistress.

Despite her position as a servant, lady’s maids were often the most educated and refined of all the female staff as her position required a knowledge of fashion, skill at hairdressing, a steady hand with a needle and thread, and more practiced manners and speech than most servants. In the absence of the housekeeper, a lady’s maid could be called upon to prepare tea and coffee for company, so she could not embarrass her mistress! It was also very fashionable to have French servants, though if a lady’s maid was not French she was required to have a store of French phrases committed to memory.

Was the life of a lady’s maid a good one? These trusted servants often acquired their mistress’ discarded clothing and traveled with their employer; however, the answer to that question likely depended upon the personality of the abigail’s employer. A mistress with the disposition of Caroline Bingley might be a nightmare, though a reasonable mistress might render the position a good one. In some ways, it does sound a lonely life as I can’t imagine much of the household staff befriending the servant who was the eyes and ears of the mistress below stairs!

Most of us would enjoy having a lady’s maid to press our clothes and fix our hair, but would you want to be an abigail? As for myself, I probably could not keep up! 

Sources:
Craig, Sheryl. Contrib. to Jane Austen Regency World Magazine.
Horn, Pamela. Flunkeys and Scullions, Life Below Stairs in Georgian England. Sutton Publishing. (2004).
Laudermilk, Sharon and Hamlin, Teresa L. The Regency Companion. Garland Publishing (1989).
Martin, Joanna. Wives and Daughters. Hambledon Continuum (2004).
Shapard, David M. (editor). The Annotated Pride and Prejudice. Pheasant Books (2003).

I thought I’d post a bit of a throwback today. If you’ve been following my upcoming release, His Perfect Gift, you may wonder where my original idea came from. This is the original scene, written for Pride and Prejudice: Behind the Scenes that I souped up and continued for His Perfect Gift. In the meantime, if you haven’t preordered His Perfect Gift, you can do so here! Release is the 21st and coming quick!

26 January 1812.

An hour prior, Colonel Fitzwilliam had appeared in his study, insisting they had to venture out to a shop in Cheapside. Cheapside! Of course, he had refused, if for no other reason, but to avoid yet another reminder of Elizabeth Bennet. Was there nothing that would spare him the torment of her memory? Unfortunately, his cousin would not leave him to the solitude of his library.

“I must insist you finally tell me where we are going,” he demanded in a surly tone.

Fitzwilliam lifted his eyebrows. “My but you are ill-tempered this morning. What has you in such a mood these days?”

“You are aware how much I dislike the balls and dinner parties of the season? I have had to endure your mother’s Twelfth Night ball as well as a dinner party given by none other than Miss Bingley. I should think those two events alone would be enough to sour anyone’s disposition.” Darcy steered his attention to the view outside the window as he attempted to avoid any further discourse on the subject.

A hearty chuckle came from across the carriage. “The only teeth set on edge by Miss Bingley belong to you, cousin, and I daresay it is your own fault.”

His head jerked back. “My fault?”

“You are too concerned with offending Bingley, so you do not treat her in the curt manner you do most women.”

Aggravation with his cousin’s observation and the situation welled within him. “I may not enjoy speaking with the ladies as you do, but I am not curt.”

The colonel gave a small snort. “I beg to differ. I have seen many a lady who was offended by your method of keeping them at bay.”

“I have no wish to be ensnared by any of them, so I ensure I do nothing to encourage their hopes.” With a heavy exhale, Darcy grimaced. “But I am afraid my latest endeavour to be of aid to Bingley has not helped the matter with Miss Bingley.”

His cousin’s expression reflected his curiosity as he leaned forward in his seat. “So, you have saved Bingley from himself once again? What was it this time? Another bad investment opportunity?”

Darcy shook his head. “Bingley became enamoured of a local girl while in Hertfordshire.”

“That does not sound too dire,” responded the colonel. “He is always fancying himself in love; it passes soon enough.”

Again, he shook his head. “No, this time was different. Bingley showed a decided preference for the young lady from the first of their acquaintance, and by the time of the ball at Netherfield, it became apparent that he had raised the expectations of the neighbourhood. They all believed him soon to propose.”

His cousin furrowed his brows. “You felt a marriage to this lady to be imprudent?”

Darcy closed his eyes as he envisioned the deplorable behaviour of Mrs Bennet and the three youngest Bennet daughters. “It would have been a most imprudent match. She had little dowry, no connections, and the behaviour of her family was objectionable, to say the least.”

“You must consider it a triumph to have successfully separated the two.”

“You can be certain,” he stated with conviction. “My only regret is that by being in collusion with Miss Bingley, she seems more assured I will one day propose to her. She is intolerable.

Colonel Fitzwilliam regarded Darcy with a critical eye, prompting him to shift in his seat. “Come to think of it, your insufferable mood was not present until your return with Bingley.” A smirk lit his cousin’s face. “Did you make the acquaintance of a woman in Hertfordshire? Would you be pining for someone as unsuitable as Bingley’s new angel?”

He scoffed as he adjusted his cuffs. Elizabeth Bennet? Unsuitable? If not for her family and connections, she would be eminently suitable. “You are ridiculous. I would never be so imprudent.”

The colonel sighed. “No, I suppose you would not.”

“What is so special about this wine and brandy merchant?” asked Darcy, with the intention of changing the subject.

“As I told you earlier, he boasts of a particularly fine assortment of port, claret, and brandy. My father was impressed by their selection when he placed his order for the ball. I thought you might wish to meet the proprietor.”

He suppressed a smile at the success of his manoeuver. “I do not see the urgency of such a matter. I have a perfectly adequate supplier on Piccadilly Street, who I have used since my father passed.”

With an irritated huff, his cousin sat back against the squabs. “I would wager this man’s prices to be more reasonable. He will also deliver to Grosvenor Square and Belgravia, which means you should not have to return once you have set up an account.”

The two gentlemen stared at one another for a few seconds until Colonel Fitzwilliam shook his head and turned to watch the buildings pass through the window.

A row of houses along Gracechurch Street drew Darcy’s particular interest while he avoided further conversation with his cousin. Did one of them belong to the uncle of Elizabeth Bennet? He had never taken the time to study the neighbourhood in the past, and he had to admit some of these homes were actually pleasant and well tended. Of course, the appearances did not necessarily correspond to the personalities of the owners. After all, Longbourn was not objectionable from all outward appearances.

A small park ahead caught his eye. Had Miss Elizabeth ever walked in that park? With her love for the activity, she must have during one of her visits to her family. He could almost envision her strolling through the trees, her hair windswept and the hem of her dress stained with grass and dirt—much as she had appeared upon her arrival at Netherfield to care for her sister.

They drew closer, and a young lady at the front gates came into focus, revealing her to be none other than Jane Bennet. Darcy leaned back from the window, while he watched her walk into the park hand in hand with a small child, a servant trailing behind.

He would have to ensure Bingley remained away from Cheapside for the near future. They had struggled so to prevent his return to Hertfordshire and to conceal Miss Bennet’s presence in London; it would not do for him to happen upon her now.

“There is a handsome young lady,” said his cousin, interrupting his thoughts. “Who is she?”

With a shrug of his shoulders, Darcy donned a mask of feigned indifference. “How am I to know? I would imagine a tradesman’s daughter, one of good means by her dress.”

“You appeared to have recognised her, or at least, taken interest?”

“No, I am not acquainted with her, and as for her being of interest…” His last view as they passed was of Jane Bennet smiling to the child at her side. “She smiles too much.”

Colonel Fitzwilliam gave a bark of laughter. “That has to be the most preposterous notion I have ever heard you utter. What man has not been bewitched by the smile of a beautiful woman?”

Miss Elizabeth again came to mind and Darcy gave a wry grin. “Perhaps a pair of fine eyes might one day garner my notice.”

His cousin chuckled. “I pity you when they do. You are so accustomed to maintaining your distance, you will be at a loss as to how to win her favour.” He turned serious and held Darcy’s eye. “But she will be a lucky woman—a lucky woman indeed.”

I’ve mentioned this is coming, and due to popular demand, Rain and Retribution is on audiobook! I’m so excited and I hope everyone gets a chance to hear Alexandra Lee Smith’s brilliant narration, so until you are able to listen to your copy, I have a sample for you!

It’s one of my favorite scenes and the first I ever imagined, so when I started writing, I had to figure out how to get E and D on that road together. It was so much fun listening to Alexandra bring Darcy’s disbelief to life and I hope you enjoyed it as well.

To get your own copy click on the link to Audible US, Audible UK, Audible France, or Audible Germany

In the meantime, I’m giving away 5 copies of Alexandra’s fun great narration. Just leave me a comment below and let me know whether you’re Audible US or Audible UK so I know what kind of code to send you when the time comes 🙂

Happy listening!

Happy Monday! October 21st is coming quickly so don’t forget to preorder your copy of His Perfect Gift! If you’d like a sneak peek before publication, I’m putting up a few chapters prior to the 21st at Austen Variations. You can read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 and I’ll be posting Chapter 3 this Friday! My working blurb is:

A reacquaintance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Christmas in London, what could go wrong?

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a man torn between choices. Having fled Hertfordshire with the singular goal of separating himself from the fine eyes and pert opinions of Miss Elizabeth Bennet, he finds himself face to face with her in London through a connection he never would have expected. He would like to abandon his reservations and court Miss Elizabeth, but other considerations are holding him back, including his family and friends, who might consider him honour-bound to another.

Following Mr. Bingley’s abrupt departure from Netherfield, Elizabeth Bennet accompanies her sister Jane to London to visit her aunt and uncle. A sudden reunion with the disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not in her plans, but the man she discovers is not the same one who insulted her so grievously at the Meryton Assembly. Instead, a doting brother and amiable gentleman calls upon her in Cheapside.

A quiet Christmas at Gracechurch Street with her aunt and uncle seemed ideal, but the inclusion of Mr. Darcy brings old acquaintances and conflicts neither expected.

Can Mr. Darcy convince his family and friends to choose Elizabeth? Could Elizabeth turn out to be his perfect gift?

I can’t wait for everyone to finally read it!

In other news! I have a few books that I removed from KU to give others a chance to purchase them in other formats. At the moment, Confined with Mr. Darcy, The Earl’s Conquest, It’s Always Been You, and He’s Always Been the One can be read on Nook, Oyster, Scribd, and iBooks. I attempted to move Undoing as well, but the distributor refused to approve the formatting for distribution. I have the letters formatted correctly, but they don’t like the spacing and want the letter completely clumped together, which makes the designer in me cringe. I apologize. I may try again in the future, but for the moment, I put Undoing back in KU.

I hope to start having new content back up here soon! In the meantime, stay happy and healthy!

Leslie xx

Wow! I owe everyone an apology! In July, I spent a little over two weeks with my daughter in Texas, getting her settled there, before returning to Missouri and moving less than two weeks later. The last thing I wished was to move ourselves, but the office that schedules moves was still backed up (Thank you, Covid!) and while my husband wasn’t technically moving for another month, I wanted the children in school at our new home and not moving a month into the school year.

Fast forward to today, and we’re settled as much as we can be in the new house. We’ve had a myriad of issues crop up, but we’re dealing as best we can. My husband arrived a few days ago and has a bit of time to relax before he starts into work here.

So! What have I been up to? I have been unpacking, caulking (that word would make my children giggle), and unpacking as I can get rooms painted. I’ve also been finishing up the final edits, cover, and proofreading for His Perfect Gift, coming on October 21st to Kindle and Kindle Unlimited! Check out Austen Variations for Chapter 1 and tune in again tomorrow for the cover reveal as well as Chapter 2!

I’ve got a working blurb, but I will probably tweak it a bit more before publication day!

A reacquaintance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Christmas in London, what could go wrong?

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a man obsessed. He had fled Hertfordshire with the singular goal of separating himself from the fine eyes and pert opinions of Miss Elizabeth Bennet, but through a connection he never would have expected, he finds himself face to face with her in London of all places. Should he abandon his reservations and court Miss Elizabeth? What of his family and friends? Would they accept Elizabeth or believe him honour-bound to another? The decision as well as the repercussions occupy one’s mind for weeks!

After Mr. Bingley’s abrupt departure from Netherfield, Elizabeth Bennet accompanies her sister Jane to London to visit her aunt and uncle. A sudden reunion with the disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not in her plans, but the gentleman she discovers in town is not the same man who insulted her so grievously at the Meryton Assembly. How is she to reconcile the man she knew in Hertfordshire with the doting brother and amiable gentleman who calls upon her in Cheapside? A quiet Christmas at Gracechurch Street with her aunt and uncle seemed ideal, but the inclusion of Mr. Darcy brings the return of previous acquaintances and conflicts neither expected. A Christmas courtship could be idyllic, yet is Mr. Darcy the suitor for her? Only Elizabeth can decide what will happen and whether she will become Mr. Darcy’s perfect gift.

I started a modern before I left Missouri that I hope to continue any day now. I look forward to losing myself in another story that I can eventually share with you 🙂

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

Leslie


Hi everyone! Happy Monday to you! I just wanted to write up a quick post to let everyone know that the Rain and Retribution Kindle file is updated. When I first published it, I was trying to figure out how to make a Kindle file and couldn’t figure out how to make an interactive table of contents. A great deal has changed in the last eight years or so, and I had the file open this morning and couldn’t resist making a good number of file updates. I just uploaded it, but if you check tomorrow, I’m sure the new file will be ready for you to download, complete with a spanking new table of contents for you to use.

I will make an announcement on Facebook when the new file is ready to go. I hope you enjoy the table of contents and a bit nicer format to the book 🙂

Happy Reading!

Happy Monday! So, not much writing for the last two weeks. I finished going over my latest book, which is not lengthy by any means (just under 50K), but a quick, fun Christmas romp (I think anyway!). That’s being beta’d and I’m working on touching it up for final edits. I also managed another 2K on a modern I have going and hope will be easier to keep up with during all this upheaval than a modern. You’d never know it, but during Agony and Hope, I had one name for the butler and housekeeper then completely changed them midway after not being able to write because of my back. Let’s hope the modern is a bit easier to keep tabs on!

I blogged our last moves and our time in England, and I thought I’d blog this move as much as I could. This one is a sort of two parter. In the beginning of July, we signed the papers for a small place for our daughter near where she is going to college. My husband took her down and cleaned it up and moved a bunch of boxes and her futon in. She needed a new mattress in a bad way, so he purchased her one. Then they returned and a week later, the three of us returned. Hubby had to come home to go to work and I stayed for over two weeks dealing with contractors and constant trips to Michael’s (not a hardship to go to the craft store!) and the home improvement store (this depends on what I’m needing!).

Before my husband left, we built a French drain to try to alleviate some of the rain water collecting in the backyard. Someone had blocked the drainage hole in the brick fence line and we cleared that and added the drain. It still collects some, but it drains much better and we’re working on ways to help with the rest. We put a rain barrel under the base of the gable of the neighbors house to collect that, and eventually, we will put up a gutter for what comes off of the roof of ours. We cut down a medium sized tree in the back (with a hand saw!!) and trimmed the trees which let in some light to help dry it up some as well. I also put down some grass seed in the hopes we can have more than weeds and mud.

We also had to rebuild a shower, which was basically a fiberglass shower with the floor completely stripped. Unfortunately, the home is older and they don’t make that size anymore (we’re finding that on a number of things!). We had to have the entire shower rebuilt and the tile guy had a heck of a job leveling the walls. The demo guys also broke the drain which had to be fixed before we could get the tiling even started. Needless to say, I was done with it all by the time all of that was over.

We also had two doors with water damage replaced. The storage room door was also an odd size and had to be reframed a bit.

Of course, it never ends there! The dishwasher decided to burn up and take the power outlet with it. Fortunately, the warranty company replaced nearly every outlet in the house, we’re working on a new dishwasher through them, and today, the plumber the warranty company is dealing with is replacing the hot water heater that decided to start leaking water the week before I left. There will always be something it seems! I’m still peeved the new bathroom vent/fan didn’t fit the hole and I can’t find one online that will, but that’s a repair for another time! (Even if I tried and failed miserably to rush one the night before we left!!)

One of my last projects was to put pavers under the trash and recycle bins so they wouldn’t sink into the mud as it was. Grass wouldn’t grow there and rocks would’ve made taking the bins out and putting them back a nightmare.

Even with the issues, it’s a cute place and we will continue to fix it up since our other two children intend to go to college there as well. I have a long and probably expensive list of things to accomplish, but the way I see it, we have 10 years or so to do it. I also had 2 weeks on my own with my oldest, which I can’t complain about. We took advantage of a clearance sale at Michael’s, painted the second-hand furniture she purchased, and re-covered the torn up chairs for her kitchen table with some fabric samples we were given. She also spoiled me by cooking nearly every day (even if I had to wash the dishes when the dishwasher crapped out! 😉 )

Anyway, one move accomplished! We just have one more to go!

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