A Boxed Set on Sale

A Boxed Set on Sale

Like many authors last year, I lowered the prices of some of my books. I don’t think any of us realized that the crisis would last as long as it did, but we were happy to help people stuck at home to entertain themselves without spending as much.

Click for blurb and purchase links. #BuyDirectFromZoe

Now, a year later, many of us are raising our prices back up. Some slowly and others maybe not so much. LOL

My approach to this has been to choose a book each month, lower the price even further for thirty days, and promote the heck out of it during that time. Then, at the end of the month, the price is raised to what it was pre-pandemic and a new book is chosen to be “on sale” and promoted.

I started with boxed sets, and for the last four and a half months, one of my boxed sets has been on sale each month. May’s promo book is the complete Darcy Marriage Series. This book bundle has had an upgraded interior with updated links in the back, and a new cover. It has been $2.99 for the entire month of May. This is, in my opinion, a really good deal, because you’re getting three books for the price of one.

The book is in a sweet/Christian romance/cozy mystery promotion on Bookfunnel. If you follow me on Facebook, I have shared the link (this one) a couple times, and I’ve passed it around to my email list subscribers. I always ask for clicks when I share these, because I get scored on how well I share. The higher my score, the better chance I have of getting into future promotions. So, I’m asking now … please do click and take a gander at the titles. Leenie Brown has at least one in there. Clicking is totally free. If you see something you like, great and if not, that’s wonderful, too! 😀

Click for free to check out the books.

This set of books represents my first and only attempt at a Regency Darcy and Elizabeth series. It fought me tooth and nail to get written, especially the third book. I learned several lessons from the publication of the titles in this series. In my experience:

  • “Darcy” in the title sells books.
  • Many, many readers either don’t understand the concept of a series or just don’t like reading them.
  • If there’s any hint that the book might have a different main character than Darcy and Lizzy, readers won’t buy it. It doesn’t matter that the book is actually titled after the “villain” and that Darcy and Lizzy are, indeed, the main characters.

My experience was not stellar, and it turned me off series at all for a long time. Of course, my race books (Pride & Prejudice & Racecars – that’s an Amazon affiliate link … free to click but might earn me a few pennies) are a series, but those are modern and about stock car racing and are JAFF’s red-headed stepchild, and are therefore avoided except by a few brave souls. LOL

Pride & Prejudice & Racecars series (affiliate link … free to click but may result in me earning a few pennies)

 

I know, though, that what happened to me is not what happens to everyone. Leenie, for example, has several series of books and passionately defends them. <3

I’d love to try a series again, but … once burned, twice shy.

Anyway, this series is on sale until May 31st. I’ll leave you now with a couple questions and an excerpt from Book 1, Darcy’s Wife Search.

Do you like series? If so, what do you like about them? If not, why?

Chapter 1

Fitzwilliam Darcy stood in Hyde Park, watching the ducks at the edge of the Serpentine. Outwardly, his figure was stiff, his mien severe. Inwardly, he was a lonely man.

Darcy had inherited his estate, Pemberley, at two and twenty years of age after the death of his father. In addition to the main estate, he inherited some smaller properties, a mine, and guardianship of his younger-by-twelve-years sister, Georgiana, in conjunction with his cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam. His father’s decline had been lingering, giving Darcy the chance to learn and become comfortable running the family holdings before they finally became his. He had spent his year of mourning in Derbyshire, the county where Pemberley was located, too grief stricken to contemplate leaving.

He and his father had been very close, and with Georgiana formed a tightly knit family. His mother died when Georgiana was a small child; she could not remember Lady Anne, though Darcy had vivid memories of her. Her sudden death had cast a pall over the entire estate, and it was only his children that kept her husband engaged in life.

This past summer, just two months ago, Darcy sent Georgiana to Ramsgate with her recently-hired companion. Her sojourn there ended in near-disaster, for in collusion with the companion, Darcy’s childhood playmate convinced Georgiana he was in love with her and that they should elope. Thankfully, Darcy decided to visit his sister on a whim, and when she saw him, she confessed the whole scheme. Her despair when George Wickham confessed in front of her that his goal was her thirty thousand pound dowry was heartbreaking.

Even now, back in town with her brother and a new and more thoroughly investigated companion, his sister was plagued by melancholy and insecurity. She doubted herself and her ability to make good decisions. Mrs. Annesley, the companion, assured him that with time, Georgiana would return to herself again. He fervently hoped so; he missed his cheerful sister.

There were other reasons for his loneliness. Darcy wanted a wife. He wanted to marry and settle down. Visits to his club were nice, but did not fill the need in his soul. Balls and dinners, while a necessary part of the life of a member of high society such as he, left him wanting something else, something quieter. Never one to carouse, his evening entertainments did not include visits to brothels or mistresses, and so his physical needs remained just that—needs. He knew without experiencing it that relations with someone he was not in love with would leave him just as empty as everything else in his life did.

So, two years ago, he had begun the search for a wife. He danced, far more often than was to his liking, and conversed with more beautiful, and some not-so-beautiful, women than he had in his entire adult life. He found most of them charming to some degree. Some were more intelligent, others less so. Some were more accomplished than others. And some were outright mercenary. More than once had he narrowly escaped a compromising situation. Overall, though, the experience had not been a bad one. He had met many women who would make a very good wife, and learned more about what he did and did not want to live with for the rest of his life. However, none of those ladies touched his heart. And that, he had come to realize, was paramount to his happiness.

Turning from his contemplation of the river, Darcy consulted his pocket watch. Seeing that it was too early yet to return for tea, he sat on a nearby bench to watch the people sharing the park with him.

Almost immediately, he noticed a large group strolling the path. Making up the party was a gentleman, with a lady on his arm and two young ladies walking behind. In the back was a woman dressed in the uniform of a maid, escorting four small children. The couple at the beginning of the group he assumed to be husband and wife based on the way they interacted. He could only assume the children were theirs. Of the two younger ladies, one was a little taller than the other, and blonde and willowy. She was similar in looks to many of the gentlewomen he had been introduced to in the last two seasons—a classic English beauty. The other one was shorter, with dark hair and a curvier body. He wondered who they were.

As he observed them from his seat, the party stopped at a bench several feet from his. Not many minutes later, the oldest of the children was begging one of the young ladies to pay ball with him. She laughingly agreed. Darcy smiled to himself to hear her bargain with the young fellow.

“Yes, James, I shall play hoops with you if you promise to complete your lessons tomorrow with no complaining,” she teased.

Solemnly, the little boy, James, replied, “I promise, Cousin Lizzy. I shall complete them all, even my music lessons.”

“Even your music lessons! Well, you must be desperate to play! Come; let us walk out to this large empty area. Can you carry the hoop?”

And so, out they went. Darcy was intrigued by the teasing tone of her voice and by how well she handled him. He wondered if she liked reading, and debating.

Afraid of being caught staring, he looked away from the pair playing, examining the blonde and the rest of the group, then looking the other way to see who might be walking the adjacent paths. The next thing he knew, a wooden hoop had bounced off his foot and landed in his lap. Catching it without thought, he looked around to see the brunette and her cousin running toward him.

Arriving in front of his bench, the lady curtseyed, and the little boy bowed.

“I apologize, sir. My young cousin here was not able to keep the hoop straight, as he should have. He is still learning, are you not,” she asked James as she ruffled his hair.

“Yes, ma’am.” Turning to the gentleman on the bench, he apologized, “I am sorry sir.”

Darcy smiled at the boy. He had risen at their arrival to his bench and now bowed to them. “All is well, young man. No one was harmed.” Turning to the girl, he was arrested by the sparkle of humor and intelligence in her eyes. “I am Fitzwilliam Darcy. May I ask to whom I am speaking?”

The young lady curtseyed again as she gave him her name. “Elizabeth Bennet, and this is Master James Gardiner. Thank you for being so kind to my cousin.”

“’Twas nothing. These things happen, you know, when one plays with hoops. They are not easily controlled.”

Young James’s eyes grew wide. “Do you play hoops, too, Mr. Darcy?”

Darcy chuckled. “I have not recently, but in my youth, I was quite adept at the game.”

“You were?” James could not imagine the tall, serious gentleman playing such a game.

“I was. It was a long time ago, but I was much better than my cousins.”

“My cousins will not play with me. They are all girls. Well, except Lizzy. She always plays with me, whenever I ask.” James looked up at Elizabeth in adoration.

Elizabeth blushed. “Hush, James. You will have Mr. Darcy thinking I am a hoyden instead of a lady.” She turned to her new acquaintance. “I confess I do enjoy playing with the boys, but I am well-behaved otherwise.”

Darcy bowed gallantly. So she enjoys children. “I have no doubt of it, madam.”

It was at this juncture that Elizabeth’s friends joined them. Darcy requested an introduction, and Elizabeth was happy to oblige.

“Edward Gardiner, you say? Of Gardiner Firearms?”

Elizabeth’s uncle smiled. “The very one. You have seen one of my pistols?”

“Seen? Why, I own every model you have ever made. I refuse to own any other; even Manton does not make them so well and so accurate.”

Mr. Gardiner bowed and with a smile, thanked Darcy for the compliments. “Manton is a friend of mine; we have a sort of competition between us as to who is able to produce the best firearm. I am happy to have such a staunch supporter as you. I must confess, though, that I have apprentices who do much of the production of the pieces. Most of my work now is designing.”

“Still, without the design, there would be no pistol. You have a talent; a genius, if I may say it, that far surpasses any other. I am honored to make your acquaintance!”

“And I, you. I apologize if my son and niece interrupted you.”

“No need for that; I was merely sitting on the bench watching the people around me and pondering matters that I cannot control. Master Gardiner is delightful, and so is Miss Elizabeth.” Darcy had been pleased to be introduced to the young lady’s older sister, for it allowed him to both learn Elizabeth’s name and use it.

“Thank you, kind sir.” Gardiner glanced at his wife, hesitating until he saw her slight nod. “We would be pleased to have you join us for tea. If not today, perhaps tomorrow?”

Darcy’s face showed his surprise, followed by delight. “I would be pleased to do so. I am afraid today is not possible, as I am required to meet with my uncle and aunt today, but tomorrow I am free.”

“Excellent!” Gardiner recited to Darcy his address, and if the younger gentleman was surprised by its location, in sight of Gardiner’s warehouse and near to Cheapside though not in the district, he gave no indication. Both parties left the park with very good feelings for the other and an eager anticipation for tea time tomorrow.  

 

 

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13 COMMENTS
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darcybennett
darcybennett
June 8, 2021 5:32 PM

Thanks for the sale.

Patricia
Patricia
May 25, 2021 8:21 AM

Love boxed sets especially when they are series! Until Kindle’s recent update (putting together acknowledged singles of a series), it was a pain keeping the flow going when reading! Will/am still purchasing boxed sets of already purchased singles just because I can …
Ooh ooh! When can we expect the 4th race book? I love this modern P&P take!

Cinnamon
AuAu
May 25, 2021 2:44 AM

I just bought my set. Thanks. Cant wait to read them.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
May 24, 2021 5:28 PM

I’ll try to answer your question about a series. Don’t take offense as this does not pertain to you. I don’t mind a series… however, I don’t like waiting years for the next installment. I’m still waiting on the next book in a series [I will not name here] that I started forever ago. I don’t even remember the storyline now and would have to go back and review the previous book[s].

I want the fact the book is part of a series mentioned in the blurb. I don’t like to be blindsided and discover a huge cliffhanger when I wasn’t expecting it. It is better to have a soft cliffhanger or for each story to be a standalone. You mentioned Leenie Brown… she is really good about having characters from the previous book[s] in a series visit or come to the aide of someone in the new book. If a reader had not read the previous book, they might be enticed to do so because they liked meeting that character.

I don’t mind waiting a month or even a few months but over a year is bad form. I don’t like the super-short soap opera style… less that 100 pages [ex: 50 pages or less] installments. That just ticks me off. It would have been better had the author combined them into one book. I have never understood that.

I enjoy finding box-sets, anthologies, compilations, collections, especially when they are at a good price. I want to support authors but I cannot be their sole support. I have bills too. I also have more books in my TBR pile than I will ever get to. Many were at a reduced price and I just grabbed them… again, to support the author. Every little bit helps. I appreciate the reduced price that you are doing. Thank you. I wish you well in all your endeavors, stay safe, and healthy.

Riana Everly
AuAu
May 24, 2021 3:04 PM

I don’t mind a series like a set of mysteries with the same sleuths, or series with different secondary characters taking the spotlight in subsequent novels. But mostly, I like a book to be complete in itself. I guess it’s really incomplete stories and cliffhangers that I don’t like.

Robin G.
Robin G.
May 24, 2021 11:50 AM

I have no issue with a series, but I do mind buying a book and not realizing it is the first in a series. It should be clear on the cover and/or title page that it is part of a series. I also want to understand how many books are in the series. I want to read the entire series at once, and will hold off on buying until the entire series is published. In part, because some authors do not finish the series, but also, I wish to know how it will end. Apparently, I am not interested in delayed gratification, LOL!

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
May 24, 2021 8:59 AM

Thanks for the great post and boxed set info! I have one in mind I might get already!

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