Sunday, July 27, 2014

Historical Research -- Politics

Good Morning. As we all know, one cannot write a period novel without doing research. Throughout my series, I've needed to delve into the politics of the time.

First of all, let me say, I am an American. I have a hard enough time keeping track of my own country's political history. Second of all, I'm a genre writer, not an historian, so if I decide to use political aspects in my books, it had better be for a good reason.

I've found there are two trains of thought to using politics -- the first, as a decided focus of the main plot. And second, as an added layer to the general background of the setting.

For example:

In ROMANCING LADY RYDER, I focused on one particular point in the Napoleonic Wars -- the negotiations between Russia and England. In a nutshell, my main character the Earl of Greenleigh is a spy. He leads a double life -- in Society he is known as a lover of art. In reality, he works for the Foreign Office gaining secrets. We start out in France, but then because of Illora Ryder, we are enmeshed in the political dealings between Russia and England. (Russia's leader Czar Alexander finally realized Bonaparte was a maniac and even though he had made an agreement with him, he decided to hedge his bets and stay on the good side of England just in case.)

I used several key figures from Russian history as well as England and although 99% of it is not true, the 1% I did use, worked. Well, it worked for me anyway.

In THE LADY'S FATE, the Marquess of Haverlane and Duke of Cantin, are with Prince George as advisers to get him seated as the Prince Regent. I did not say specifically what they were advising George on, but it got them out of the house.

With each of my books, I have looked at certain aspects of British political history, but I have never done a comprehensive "lesson" as it were. Truthfully, there was so much going on, I can't wrap my head around it as a "whole", which is why I've tended to break it into smaller palpable pieces.

In LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, I dove into the East India Trading Company a
well as a few particular battles in Spain and Portugal. In THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE I used the alliance between France and America as a backdrop. Somewhat. (There's so much there I didn't want to get bogged down -- which I did, and then cut it all out.)

In using politics for background, I feel it is better to give a general overall feeling to the plot rather than a history lesson. Unless, as I said previously, you're writing a TRUE HISTORICAL novel. Which I'm not.

Tell me -- How do you feel about using historical information?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Writing While on Vacation

Good morning. Yes, I know the last couple of months have been fraught with indecision on this blog; first I'm here, then I'm gone, then I'm posting once every six weeks, then I post two weeks in a row. I've been trying to find a balance in there somewhere, and it doesn't seem to be working. I finally get a schedule and then it blows up in my face.

However, I knew a long time ago when I started planning my vacation this summer, that I would have to work. (Unless I actually finished the two novellas I needed to finish before June 14.  That didn't happen, but I tried really hard.) So here I am, on vacation, writing this blog.

Right now we're in Carlisle PA with my brother and sister-in-law. (Well, technically we saw my brother for just the first afternoon -- he's been working at the Naval Base Fire Station ever since. Yes, they do have Naval Support in Pennsylvania.)

Anyway, I decided to bring along two laptops so I would be able to write anyplace, any time. So far I have only broken out one to check email and post on Twitter. (Which I'm kind of liking. I haven' been Tweeting in a long time.  You can find me there @gallagher_anne)

Before I left NC, I worked like a maniac on THE LADY'S SECRET, another prequel to the last novel in the Reluctant Grooms series. It was coming along nicely (at 25k) and I know what I have to do to finish it. It should only be a matter of weeks.

And now that LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING  is up for pre-order (across all major etailers, except Amazon) I'm giving that room to rest before I have to tackle those revisions. (Back from my critique partner with just a couple of blips to fix.) All in all, I'd say it received some pretty high marks from my beta readers.

We're heading to RI in a couple of days (a couple of days because of impending storms) and when we get there we're beaching it until August 19. Yay. I haven't been to the beach in a couple of year so this will hopefully revive my creative juices.

It's hard work trying to write and keep house, and keep a kid happy. When it all gets too much something has to give, and 9 times out of 10, it's this blog. But I hope you'll stick around. I'll try and be better at posting.

I should take a lesson from the turtle above -- slow and steady wins the race.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lady Olivia's Undoing is Finished

Good Morning. It's been a long road to finally have this story finished, but now I can say it is. Yay me. I started off with a simple intention -- to show Lady Olivia at her best and worst. And then I turned her story into this monster with all kinds of sub-plots and intricate facts that no one would really care about. After writing nearly 35,000 words (and for those of you who aren't writers that translates into roughly ten chapters). I allowed my critique partner to read it and she said, "NO!"

So I stripped it back down to what I had originally started with, and rewrote it. It took longer than I anticipated, but it's finally done.

You'll have to excuse the cover, it was done by me as my cover designer is on vacation (but will hopefully take care of it once she returns.)

Here is the cover copy.

Lady Olivia Leighton, Duchess of Caymore, has wealth, privilege, and is one of the most influential women in London. However, since the death of her husband Fitzhugh a decade earlier, Olivia has kept a secret from Society. One, that if discovered, would ruin her.

Within the span of twenty-four hours, Olivia’s idyllic life is turned upside-down. With tragic news of the heir presumptive, Olivia fears the Caymore title will revert to the crown.

Olivia’s butler has never been who he appears to be, and falling in love with him was something she hadn’t planned. His sudden departure for Spain leaves them both at a crossroads for their future.

And the one man who could expose the buried past arrives on her doorstep.

At the Boxing Day Ball, a malicious trick uncovers Olivia’s hidden skeleton. Humiliated, she flees Society – disgraced. However, her presence is required at Court. Enquiries to her whereabouts turn up nothing.

Lady Olivia has disappeared.

I know it doesn't sound like a romance, and it doesn't end like the rest of my romances, but this book is a prequel to the series ending. I couldn't write the last book without my readers knowing what was going on, so I wrote this. 

There's also another prequel which will be forthcoming as soon as I get to it. I'm hoping to have both of these out by the fall. Anticipated release date for the end of the series is Christmas 2014. Whew!

When I first started writing (ten years ago) I never thought in a million years I would write a series. But I have, and it's almost finished. And then I'll start writing my next one. No rest for the wicked. 

Lady Olivia's Undoing is available for pre-order on Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords only. (I've been having trouble with links lately, so when I find them on the websites, I'll put them up here.)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pricing Changes -- Summer Sale

Good Morning. I just wanted to let you know I've lowered the prices on all my novels for the summer.  If the new prices don't show up on your preferred retailer, please wait a week until all channels have been distributed. Thank you.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quarter Days

Good Morning. I know it isn't Sunday, however, due to my all-of-a-sudden-exceedingly-busy-schedule, my
 wikimedia commons
hiatus, and a lot of other factors, this blog will now post on Quarter Days. (and Cross Quarter Days)

Quarter Days in British and Irish tradition, were the four dates in each year on which servants were hired, and rents were due.

Lady Day 25 March
Midsummer Day 24 June
Michaelmas 29 September
Christmas 25 December

Cross Quarter Days were marked by pagan festivals

Candlemas 2 Feb
May Day 1 May
Lammas 1 Aug
Hallowmas 1 Nov

And so, as it is 1 May, I am posting.

May Day (also called Beltane) was the pagan festival for the coming of spring.

Traditional British May Day rites include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and a maypole. It was all to celebrate springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and peopleIt marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. 
(source Wikipedia)
wikimedia commons 

Today I will not be lighting any bonfires, or dancing through the streets with flowers in my hair. Today, as all days, I will be sitting down to writing at some point. I have wrestled through some pertinent issues with LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, and I feel it is almost ready to finish. So yay for me.

In other news, I have already begun THE LADY'S SECRET, and have slowly started to piece together the outline for THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE, the last book in The Reluctant Grooms series.

A few months ago, I posted on the topic of having a newsletter, a website, or a blog. I've been blogging for almost 5 years, and now, as a published author, my time is very limited to what I can and cannot achieve in the course of a mere 24 hours. This blog will now take the place of all three. (If you'd like to sign up for the email version of this blog, the widget is on my sidebar.) That way you will be sure to know when my next books will be out, what I'm up to, etc., and so forth.

Happy May Day! I'll see you next on 24 June -- Midsummer Day.

Anne Gallagher  (c) 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Blog is on Hiatus

Good Morning. After much consternation, I have decided to take a break from blogging here. Part of this decision stems from taking a volunteer position at my daughter's school, which is now eating away at my free time. I would much rather write the next book than whittle away hours searching for blog topics.

I hope you all have an enjoyable spring. Hopefully, I'll be back before summer starts.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Working on the Next Book -- Lady Olivia's Undoing

Good Morning. Once I publish a book, I let it go into the universe with my very best wishes and never want to see it again. I look forward to future writing. And so, one week after publishing THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE, I started working on LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING. (I took a week off to clean my house and get my yard prepped for spring.)

Lady Olivia
I've been writing like a maniac, mostly because this story has been brewing in my head for the last year or so. LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING is one of the prequels to the last book in the series THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. Lady Olivia has been a stalwart character in all of my books and I've wanted to give her her own story for quite a while.

Unfortunately for Lady Olivia, things do not go as she plans and she finds her world turned completely upside down. I'm so excited about this book, I don't even know where to begin to tell you about it.

Henry Wade,
Marquess of Dunbury
Let me try. Remember a couple of months ago, I told you I had been searching for a new Lady Olivia, and that I found Phyllidia Law to portray her. Well, I changed my mind again. Even Phyllidia did not have what I wanted in my latest version of Olivia so I found a new one. Isn't she great. I think she can fall in love with Quiggins all over again.

However there's also another reason why I needed a new Lady O. I've been going on about this "secret" she has for the last several months, but when I started writing her new story, I found another one... About this man. Henry Wade, the Marquess of Dunbury. Isn't he just delicious? Don't you think they'd make a great pair. Yeah, me too.

John Quiggins
But what about Quiggins, you may ask? Isn't Olivia in love with Quiggins? I thought they were having a glorious affair, so taboo, considering he's a butler. Ah, yes, my ever indefatigable John Quiggins.

Well, the problem with Olivia is that she's loved Henry Wade since she was 20. Unfortunately, she was betrothed to the Duke of Caymore and had to abide by her parents wishes. Henry, broken-hearted, left for the war. Well, 37 years later, their paths cross again** and Henry and Olivia meet and fall in love. They spend a wonderful year together. However, Olivia leaves Henry in a fit of pique because he won't marry her. And then all that trouble with Penny happened (THE LADY'S MASQUERADE) and Olivia never resolved her issues with Henry. Then she met John and fell in love with him. Yes, even duchesses fall in and out of love.

In LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, we finally get the whole story about Lady Olivia, who she truly is and how she came to be one of the most powerful influential in London during the Regency. I bounce back and forth through her memories to the present day. It's all very fascinating to me. I've never quite written a love story like this. And yes, it is a love story.

I've also done something I do not normally do in my books...I only have one Point of View (POV). Olivia's. I didn't want Quiggins mucking up the business of being in my head and changing my story. So I left him out. Therefore, the entire book is all Olivia.

We get to meet her family, her friends, find out what secrets she holds, and how her influence has shaped and destroyed lives. Oh yes, everything Olivia has done up until this point in her life has been for purely selfish reasons. And in SEDUCTION she gets her comeuppance. But that's another story.

So there we have it.

On another note, I do not think I will be posting regularly through the month of April. I would like to really concentrate on this book and just write it so I will be able to publish it before the summer. If I have enough time, perhaps I'll even be able to work on THE LADY'S SECRET. Another prequel to SEDUCTION. Another fascinating look at a different side of Lady Olivia's family.

** Olivia's affair with Henry begins with the new series THE LADIES OF DUNBURY. Coming from Shore Road Publishing in 2015. (Or late 2014 if I can keep my head above water.)

Tell me -- How impatient are you for a new book in a series to come out? Or do you just read them when you find them?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014