I learnt a new lesson when writing this episode – one which I don’t recall anyone mentioning to me before, so I’ll share it with you. If you’ve got a section to write in which some important information is to be imparted about What Is Actually Going On, it can be helpful to lighten the proceedings by introducing a random additional element. In which case, it is very useful to have what we writers call Some Odd Bits Of Stuff Lying Around. It’s a bit like one of those computer games where you pick up various tools along your journey, not really knowing when you’re going to use them but which turn out to be crucial in the end. You know the kind of thing: stuff like the long-handled tweezers that are essential for plucking the fire-breathing dragon’s eyebrows in the penultimate stage of Mutant Goblin Quest XIII, although it’s possible that I may have made that one up.

Anyway, I wanted something to lighten this episode up, and it struck me that we had some baby mutant aliens running around the place. So there we go. No idea if it works, but there’s no time to look back. The story rolls relentlessly on.

Meanwhile, many thanks for your votes, all you wonderful people. Mrs Darcy’s YouTuberance came third in this month’s You Gotta Read Videos poll.

Today’s episode sees the party preparing for the evening’s entertainment at Rosings. Will things go according to plan, or will Lord Byron upset the applecart once more? And what of Wickham? I can hardly bear the tension myself, and I know what’s going to happen. By the way, today’s punchline is brought to you courtesy of Ian Cundell, the chairman of the ever-wonderful VWC.

Oh, and many thanks for all your votes at You Gotta Read Videos. As a result of this, Mrs Darcy is currently in 3rd place, but voting is still open for a few more hours, so any more votes would be most welcome.

In this episode, Elizabeth experiences the full repercussions of her wild evening with Charlotte and Lord Byron, and it’s not pretty. I should warn you that there is a really terrible pop culture-based pun in there, but I hope that this is compensated for by the moderately slick literary allusion a few paragraphs preceding it.

And I almost forgot: I need your votes, please! Mrs Darcy’s YouTuberance is nominated in this month’s You Gotta Read Videos poll. Come on, let’s show ‘em what a real promo video looks like, eh?

I had an interesting little double whammy in this competition this year, managing to be a finalist (but no further) in both the poetry collection and single poem categories. If I were perfectly honest, I’d probably be quite happy to trade one of them for something a bit closer to a prize, but I’m still quite chuffed – especially about the collection, because I’ve never tried putting together anything like that before (even if it was only ten poems). Oddly, I have no idea which poem it was that made the final, because I entered two, and they don’t identify the poems by name. However, I do know that the collection was called “Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff”.

Meanwhile, the third annual Whittaker Prize has just started: nine gruelling rounds over eighteen weeks, although this year I’m only entering for the poetry. I might have gone in for the fiction as well, having somehow managed to be runner-up last year, but the first round coincided exactly with my holiday. I reckoned that I might just get away with writing a quick poem, but that Mrs P would probably have objected if I’d spent my time away writing stories …

every-day-poets The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this place has been running largely on auto-pilot for the last couple of weeks as I have been elsewhere in the world (clue: it’s five and a half hours ahead of GMT). So here’s the first of a number of catch-up posts about some things that happened whilst I wasn’t around.

The long-awaited inaugural Every Day Poets anthology is going to be published, and three of my poems have been selected to appear in it: School Uniform, Grey Goo and Tasty Teresa. They’re all a bit daft in their own way, but I am no longer apologising for daftness :)  More news as and when the anthology appears.

Wickham makes an interesting discovery, but is interrupted before he can do anything about it. Isn’t that always the way?

Meanwhile, what of poor Annie Chapman, who was supposed to be in the care of the ghost of Mary Ann Nicholls? This episode is, frankly, more than a little unpleasant, and should be avoided by anyone of a particularly nervous disposition.

There. Can’t say I didn’t warn you …

No sex here, but we’re back to drugs and a brief glimpse of rock’n'roll as Lord Byron corrupts the two young ladies with his evil cheroots. So much so that they fail to appreciate the significance of something rather important.

And we’re back to the curious storyline about the mysterious prisoner. Except that there’s two of them now. Who can they be?

Who indeed?

Well, obviously I do. But that phrase also happens to be the title of an excellent blog run by Nicola Morgan, who for some reason has chosen to highlight Mrs Darcy today! I’m really chuffed about this, because it’s completely unsolicited and completely unexpected. But it’s exaactly the kind of thing that I hoped would happen when I kicked this whole thing off. So big thanks to Nicola. And everyone out there who isn’t reading her blog, take the advice that Adèle Giras gave at Get Writing 2010 and start reading it now. OK?

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