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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hi, My Name is Ruth, And I'm a Darcyholic!

A Guest Post by Ruth Phillips Oakland
Hi, Darcyholics!  What a treat it is today to share a post from a Darcyholic I have met IN PERSON! I have visited with Ruth both in my home town of Atlanta, and hers of Boston. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
March 9--Jack Caldwell (Celebrating The Three Colonels release)
March 13--Lynne Robson
March 16--Mary Simonsen
March 17--Jennifer Hickling (michchick)
March 20--Jan Hahn (release of The Journey)
March 23--Jeane Alvarez (P&P2005 blog)
March 27--Lucy S.
March 30--Elizabeth Kantor
April 3--Bonnie Carlson
April 6--China Fuentes-Montero
April 10--Matt Duffy
April 13--Regina Jeffers
April 17--Elizabeth Ashton
April 20--Susan Mason-Milks
April 24--Linda Wells
April 27--Veronica (Dark Jane Austen Book Club)
May 4--Susan Adriani
And Many more to come!


Comments on Ruth’s post will enter you into this month's monthly drawing (to be given away at the end of the month from all the comments on the blog this month). Entries will be based on comments on blog posts; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member!, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.

My name is Ruth, and I’m a Darcyholic

My name is Ruth, and I'm a Darcyholic.  It’s been twenty minutes since my last Darcy fix. 
I was introduced to the haughty and proud Mr. Darcy my senior year in high school when I chose Pride & Prejudice to read for a book report.  I found the language difficult and I could not catch his tone of conversation, or appear interested in his concerns.   I quickly surmised that Mr. Darcy was a high-maintenance babe and therefore not handsome enough to tempt me.  I could not give myself the trouble and instead gave my attentions to Edmond Dantès of The Count of Monte Cristo.   I must admit to still feeling the occasional stirrings for Dear Edmond, especially when portrayed by Jim Caviezel.  But I digress…
I was reintroduced to Mr. Darcy in 1995 when the miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer What’s-her-name, was shown on A&E.  I was instantly captivated.  The day after the series ended, I went to my local bookstore and reluctantly procured a copy of the book.  I was delighted to discover that there was no repeat of my previous scruples about the handsome and noble gentleman from Derbyshire.   
Mr. Darcy introduced me to Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney and that rascal Henry Crawford.  I devoured all Austen’s books and when completed, I put them on a dusty bookshelf and promptly forgot about them.   I had young children in school, karate carpools and my painting that kept me very busy.  I constantly lamented that my stained glass equipment was still buried in boxes from our move four years before.  I simply did not have time for a new obsession.
In 2006, I was strolling through my local blockbuster for a DVD to watch and since my husband was out town,  I chose Pride & Prejudice 2005.  That night, after my daughters were asleep and I was tucked up in bed with a glass of wine, I watched the movie.  I hated it, for I felt the story was not adequately told in less than two hours and I could not allow who ever that guy was to supplant Colin Firth as my Mr. Darcy.  Plus that skinny actress looked nothing like Jennifer What’s-her-name.   However, I was not sleepy, painting had long ago lost its appeal and my stained glass equipment was still in its boxes.  So I watched it again.
It was during this second viewing, in that moment when Matthew MacFadyen was walking through the Assembly and first sees the skinny girl that I felt compelled to freeze the picture, reverse for a few seconds and play that double take again, and again and again.  That was when I realized the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a handsome man can bestow.  Like crack cocaine, I was instantly addicted.  I needed more Darcy!
To feed my addiction I pulled out my dusty copy of Pride & Prejudice and re-read it several times, but that was not enough to sooth the monkey on my back.  Logically assuming that if a sequel to Gone With The Wind was written, surely someone wrote a sequel to Pride & Prejudice too.  It was in my local bookstore that I discovered my first fanfiction – Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll.
It was not long before I had purchased and read every published adaptation of Pride & Prejudice available in print, and yet the hunger for more could not be ignored.  I then turned to the internet hoping to find something out of print when I found a link to a story called, “When Least Expected,” by Lucy.  It was everything I had been looking for; funny, sweet, romantic, and when I shortened the http address to see what website it was posted on, I found The Derbyshire Writer’s Guild and hundreds of fanfiction stories – for free.  DWG lead me to Hyacinth Gardens, Firthness, Scotch & Sirens, Mrs. Darcy’s Story Site and eventually to A Happy Assembly, Austen Underground, 50 Miles of Good Road and The Bloom & Quill.
Here it was, a figurative intravenous feed of Darcy, and I have been blissfully mainlining ever since.
It was when reading this original backlog of stories at DWG that a story of my own began playing in my head.  The story was with me constantly.  I never considered myself a writer, but reasoned that perhaps, if I wrote something down, Mr. Darcy would let me get my taxes done or come up with something a little more imaginative for my kids’ dinner than a grilled cheese sandwich.
At that time Firthness held a monthly writing challenge.  I wrote one scene from my story and sent it off to a lovely woman named Clare who had agreed to be my beta.  I feared it would come back with ‘don’t ever post this’ typed across the top in big red letters.  Instead, Clare gave few edits and encouraged me to enter it in the challenge.
I can’t begin to describe the fear I felt when I posted that first story, or the thrill when the readers at Firthness made it that month’s challenge winner.  That story was called ‘Baby Blue’, and led to another Firthness challenge winner called “Mr. ________,” and then another story and another until eventually ‘Baby Blue’ was written into a 30 chapter story entitled My BFF.
Six years after that first double take by Matthew MacFadyen, I have written two complete long stories, more than thirty short stories and there are at least ten incomplete stories on my hard drive.  My posted stories can be found at A Happy Assembly and The Bloom and QuillMy BFF was published in 2009 and while the print version is no longer available, the kindle, Nook and E-Reader versions can still be purchased. 

Amazon Link for Ruth's Book 
I suppose you can guess the fate of the stained glass equipment.
What is the lesson here?  My Darcy addiction has enriched my life and led me to new friends and new places.   If loving Mr. Darcy is wrong, I don’t want to be right! 
Now please excuse me, but I’m feeling a little shaky.  I do believe it’s past time for my next fix.

An Editor's Note--I consider myself a 'dealer' of Darcy! Below is a Fix Just For Ruth! (Well, somehow I don't think she will be the only one to enjoy it!  Love, BTCole)


  1. Gosh, Ruth, I also have stained glass equipment in storage. I had completely forgotten that. Somehow glass cutting can't compete with a good JAFF. As hot as the solder gets, it's not as hot as a well-written Darcy. Oh, my, I think I need a glass of something cold.

    1. I must admit to now being afraid to open those boxes, fearing that all I'll find is a big pile of rust! Nice to hear from you!

  2. I realized the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a handsome man can bestow. Like crack cocaine, I was instantly addicted.... a figurative intravenous feed of Darcy, and I have been blissfully mainlining ever since.

    Hear, hear! Yay for screenshots of Darcy and JA's other heroes. And yay for writers who love them. I still adore your BFF.

  3. Here it was, a figurative intravenous feed of Darcy, and I have been blissfully mainlining ever since.
    Too funny.
    Wonderful tidbits in your story. Who knew that you were a MM fan. Jim Caviezel a hunk to be sure. I still love BFF, didn't start out as a book, who knew. My BFF is part of my Christmas traditions, read it every year.
    I am hoping soon that it is one of your 10 stories started, will be complete. It would be wonderful to read a new RuthO story.


    1. I think MM was the catalyst, but it's the fictional Darcy who I squee over. It's hard to describe, but I'm sure you understand totally.

      "A Christmas Tradition?" Do you have an angel on the top of your tree? ;)

  4. I knew an intelligent, witty, modern writer would agree with me that MM is THE Darcy that turns us on.
    Thanks for the Fix, Barb!!!!

    1. I do like Matthew a lot, but I must admit that his appeal has faded and Mr. Firth has only gotten more handsome with age. I fear my inner fangirl is very shallow and fickle creature and I remain neutral in whatever Darcy skirmish pops up.

      Thanks for your lovely compliments and I hope to see you again the next time you're in Boston.

  5. That was wonderful Ruth! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and totally agree with you about dear Matthew!
    BFF was my first JAFF purchase on my kindle-fire and I cannot even imagine that you could ever write anything I wouldn't read. I read JAFF for a whole year before I started reading moderns and BFF was one of the first I read. I remember I couldn't wait for you to post the next chapter. So, so, good! And Baby Blue, well I just love it! It made me smile the whole way through :)
    You are gifted to be sure and I am so happy that you share your gift with us. Now get busy writing! ;)

    1. I'm so honored to hold first position on your kindle. You have always been a cherished cheerleader for my muse. Thank you so very much!

  6. LOL! Ruth, you crack me up :-) Thanks for making me smile today!

    1. Anonymous? Melissa, you can't hide from me! Glad I could make you smile. See you soon!

  7. Ruth!

    I feel like we are having a Boston reunion in the comment thread! Where is that ‘A Darcy Does Not Quake’ story?

    I loved your post, really loved My BFF and your wit!

    And even a Colin fan found THAT particular video I found HOT! Hope it helped you get your fix today! Thanks so much for taking the time to post here!


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. These days my Darcy fix comes more from stories than pictures, but I can always appreciate a good looking man. I must admit that over the past three years Colin has once again become first in my Darcy affections. Thanks for inviting me to your blog!

  8. Dear Ruth,

    I remember the first time I read Baby Blue and Mr._____. After that, I anxiously waited for another dose of RuthO's tales (see, you can be as addicting as Darcy!) and I have loved every single one of them. I was very glad to be a part of the commenting crowd during the publication of the marvelous BFF (happy times!) and I hope you decide to gift us with one of those mysterious stories in your hard drive.

    Thanks for all the sweet, funny, sexy and romantic stories!



    1. Dear Karina. We became friends over 'My Bff' even though we live a hemisphere apart. I will forever be grateful that you are one of the lovely ladies Mr. Darcy introduced me too. Hugs!

  9. Ruth,

    While you enjoy a figurative intravenous feed of Darcy, I am trying to take it all in in homeopatic doses (it is not working really...LOL) because I found the world of JAFF only 3 months ago and I am overwhelmed. After reading your post I have at least one more story to add to my neverending TO READ list. However, I have been blissfully maintaining a daily dose of Darcy and I cannot live without it anymore! Yep, my name is Rita and I am also a Darcyholic!

    Great post!

    1. Rita, I think it took me a good six months to read the backlog and that was in 2007. You have a much larger job ahead of you. I hope you'll have the opportunity to read my work and let me know what you think.

  10. I still remember how thrilled I felt when Ruth emailed and asked if I could help her out with a few Brit queries in BFF! My first 'beta' job! I hope I didn't let her down! It was so exciting to receive one chapter at a time for me to 'review' and return so I could patiently await the arrival of the next! I loved My BFF and still do and have re-read it many times on my Kindle, and have even bought the printed version to give to friends!
    I hope we'll be gifted with a new Ruth O story very soon! x

    1. My Dear Jane! Thank you so much. You kept my British Darcy from being too American, and I can never thank you enough!

  11. I can imagine how nerving it is to send off your first story to someone else to read and tweak. Good thing for us readers you did!
    Hmmm an intravenous feed of Mr.Darcy.... might cure a lot of illness out there. You could be onto to something!
    Did all the extras.


    1. Thank you, Margaret. I believe a Darcy story a day keeps the doctor away! {{May Ben Franklin forgive me!}}

  12. Ruth ~

    Great blog! Your addiction is certainly understandable. So many Darcys, so little time. Off to find my dealer . . .


  13. Hey Ruth...so sorry to be late but I'm just now getting caught up on some of my reading. Love the story of how your addiction began! This is one addiction I think we can all live with, just fine!

    If it wasn't for our addiction, I would never have met such wonderful people like you!


  14. Ruth, I didn't know that you painted! But I did know that you love MM as your Mr. Darcy about as much as I love CF for mine. (Lots!) "My BFF" is one of my all-time favorite modern P&P what ifs, but you already know how much and for how long I've loved your stories. Whenever I feel frustrated by my own, I often sneak off to read something by you. It always inspires me, just like you do. I'm so thankful for you, for so many reasons.


    1. Thank you, sweet friend! You inspire me too!



  15. Ruth! I didn't know you had posted here - I had to find out from Susan Adriani's post on fb! You are a sly one!

    I love your story of how your addiction started! I'm so glad you found JAFF as that had led to our wonderful friendship. And My BFF - one of my favorites books of all time. Love you, babe!

    1. Gail, my partner in numerous crimes!

      Thanks so much!