Sunday, June 28, 2015

Historical Research -- Army and Navy England 1810

During the Reluctant Grooms Series, I had several characters in the Navy, as well as in the Army. I spent hundreds of hours doing research--most of it never used in any of my books. It's the necessary evil to writing good historical fiction. I know more about the Peninsular war fought in Spain and Portugal than I ever really intended.

I've put together a basic list of the different officers from the two branches of service in England in 1810



Navy                                                               Army

Admiral of the Fleet                                          Marshall/Field Marshall
Admiral                                                             General
   White
   Red
   Blue                                                                Brigadier General
Commodore (Ret. Capt.)                                   Brigadier
Captain /                                                             Colonel
Master and Commander                                    Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Commander                                     Major/Commandant
Lieutenant                                                         Captain
Sub-Lieutenant                                                  Lieutenant
Ensign                                                               2nd Lieutenant
Midshipman                                                      Officer Cadet
***                                                                     ***
Warrant Officer                                                 Sergeant Major
Petty Officer    
Yeoman                                                             Sergeant
Leading Seaman                                                Corporal
Seaman                                                               Private


Lieutenant in His Majesty's Royal Navy
You'll notice there are three distinct Admiral's position for the Navy:

Admiral of the Fleet is the Commander in Chief. His command ships always fly the White Flag. They are traditionally first in the line of defense with the Fleet. They are the largest and most heavily powered Ship of the Line. They are called the Admiral of the White.

The Admiral of the Red is the second line of defense on the ocean.
The Admiral of the Blue is the third line.

The Captain of a vessel is not always the Master and Commander, but he should be. A Master and Commander knows everything there is to know about the ocean they travel on. Maps and stars are their best friends. He is the Master of the ship (as it were and knows how to do every job on it) and the Commander of his men. (Very important for dealing with personality disorder. Can you imagine living on a floating city for months at a time? I think not.)

It is striking to read accounts how the Royal British Navy dominated the oceans during that time
period. They had a superior battle plan and superior ships. Ports on every continent, (barring the Poles) and trade with the East.

Foot Soldier
The Army arrived in India (as early as 1682) to protect The East India Company against the sitting Rajahs. Toward the 1750's and into the early 1800's, the Army was an integral part in the trade from the East. A lot of people made a lot of money.

Officers in both the Navy and the Army, usually bought their way into a commission. Second and third sons of noble houses made up most of the officer positions. However, if you were considered a good leader, you would be promoted within the ranks.

Both the Navy and Army had certain "other" occupations that I learned. In no particular order, function, or ranking-- a basic list of gentlemen's jobs within the service.

Navy                                                  Army

Boatswain (Bo'sun)                                Hussar
Coxswain                                            
Yeoman of
  Powder Room                                      Foot Soldier (infantry)                  
 Surgeon                                                 Home Guard
Master Gunner                                            Calvary
Master of the Sheets                                     Dragoons
Master of the Sails                                            Royals (King's Own
First Mate                                                           Queen's Own,  
(all of the above)                                                 Prince's Own)
Second Mate
(all of the above)


I confess, I do know more about the Navy rather than the Army. In THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE I wanted Richard Gaines to be an authentic hero. I watched Russell Crowe in Master and Commander Far Side of the Universe a lot while I wrote that book. It's mind-blowing to realize over 400 men lived on boats like that for months at a time.

I took a virtual tour of the U.S.S. Constitution, to get some ideas on how big a Ship of the Line actually was. I also spent a lot of time emailing a sailing aficionado on the other side of the world. I researched gun powder, how to load a canon, different types of canon shot, how to sail. I do know the basics of sailing, however, these are huge vessels sailing in huge waters. It really is a whole other world entirely. I think the research was well worth it.

Doing research should never be boring. I love watching period films and are always eager to see new adaptations of old classics. I get a feel for the clothing, accents, and affectations of the characters especially if the film is a true historical drama. I've been known to take notes.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peninsular_War_Map_"Peninsular War Map 1808–14" by Derivative work:
Marcus British Relief Map of Spain.
I think it's important for a writer to understand as much as they can about the period they're writing in, otherwise they look foolish. I like to be able to point at a few of my reviews that say I knew the Regency era. I'm glad they wrote that. I'm very proud of all the research that I do.

I've always loved maps and find them extremely important in every aspect of historical fiction. I don't think you can write historical without some kind of map. If only to give you a point of reference, and a working timeline. Your hero really can't come home from the Battle of Prussia unless you know it's already been fought.



Very soon, I'll begin another phase into the research I need for the Army. Henry Wade is going to be an interesting character.

For those of you who write -- Do you do a lot of research, do you wing-it, or are you somewhere in the middle?

For those of you who read -- Do you appreciate a writer who's done the research, or do you tend to skip over those parts of the book?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Filling in the Backstory

Good Morning.  Backstory is the past -- who the characters were, what they did, where they came from to get them to this point in the book. Some characters have no backstory and just appear on the page. Others have too much backstory and need to have their own book just to keep up.

Henry in 1811
This is where I am with Henry Wade, Marquess of Dunbury. In the Reluctant Grooms, Henry appears as Olivia's old flame. All of sudden he's there and messes everything up between her and her new boyfriend
John. Well isn't that what old boyfriends are for?

But Henry's got his own problems and he quietly goes away in the last book. The thing is, I liked Henry and his backstory and that's what THE LADIES OF DUNBURY is going to be about. Henry, and how he arrives in London, why he's been away, and what he's going to do with 6 nieces.

 I'm a "visual" writer, meaning I can't write without a picture. In creating my backstory for Henry, first I had to come up with pictures. And because Henry's life
Henry in 1777
spans such a significant part of Olivia's, I needed an actor who was young and then old. Enter Sean Bean.

We all know Mr. Bean from Sharpe. He played a soldier. And I'm sure this is the wrong uniform and probably even the wrong time period, but this is how I "see" Henry when he was young and in love with Olivia.

And then we have Henry when he finally returns from the wars. When he begins his life again in London as the Marquess of Dunbury. When he doesn't really yet know how Olivia feels about him. When he realizes he has six nieces he has no idea what to do with except marry them off.

Henry is a complex character. He's held on to a lot of baggage over the years -- his love for Olivia, his hatred for Reginald, leaving his father for the wars. It's almost as if he's spent thirty-five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. I only want to make him happy (as an author), but it's going to be very hard. Henry doesn't know how to be happy. As a Colonel in His Majesty's Army, he's a soldier whose job is to kill people. I don't think you can find happy in that.

As I told you last week, I've written several chapters in the first book. However, this may not necessarily be the first book that gets published. I'm still working out the details with the writing. And I also realized, writing this series is going to be a LOT harder than the last one. I knew it, but as I started writing I said to myself, "What was I thinking tackling this project?" I know what I was thinking, I wanted to get to know Henry a little better. For such a secondary character in The Reluctant Grooms, he was very complex and I wanted to show the world who he was.

Henry striving to find the happy

Thanks for stopping by.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I'm Back -- Writing the New Series

Well, it's certainly been awhile, a couple of months anyway. First, I had to deal with a few personal issues, then a few professional issues, and then I had to clean my house. For those of you who do not write for a living, you have no idea how hard it is to keep the dust bunnies at bay.

set for Easter dinner
Anyway, I began to map out the new series story arc about a month ago. I took a weekend and laid all my notes out on the dining room table, went through each packet, and then made up an outline. The following weekend, I made up outlines for each of the books, and corresponded them with the overall series arc. Something I hadn't done with The Reluctant Grooms series. (I wrote that by the seat of my pants.)

what it looks like today

However, with this series, as it meets up with The Reluctant Grooms in various ways, I thought it best to outline. Hopefully, I won't lose my way.

I have started writing and finished the first five chapters of Book One. There will be 6-8 books in this series, I haven't actually decided yet. I'm trying to come up with a prequel that won't confuse my readers, but it's hard. I have everything in my head -- getting it down on paper is the worst part.

I've also done a few mock-ups for cover art, but have yet to speak with my cover designer about those yet. I'm wondering if I should have the "ladies" on the covers. Yet, as I was cruising the latest Regency romances on Amazon recently, I noticed more and more cover art that looks like mine. I want something different this time.

I've also re-edited all 9 volumes of The Reluctant Grooms. For the final time. I hope. I cleaned up the inconsistencies, punctuation, and any other flaw I found. And this also gave me the cleaned files for uploading to paperback, which I am on my way to converting. So for those of you who would like paper versions, they will be out before the end of June.

So here we are. I'm going to try and maintain a regular blog schedule over the summer. I'll post on Sunday mornings to keep you updated on my progress. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, on the days that I write, I'll post my word count. gallgher_anne  (My Twitter handle)

I'm looking forward to this series. It's going to be a bear to write -- new characters, new research, new storylines -- but I think it will be fun. I get to fall in love all over again.

See you next week.

PS  And no, I did not tell you the name of the series because I don't want to jinx myself. Call me superstitious.

PPS I'm hoping to have the first book completed by the end of the summer.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Goodreads Ask The Author

Good Morning. For those of you who have read my books and are wondering about certain aspects of the writing, or characters, or research, or what-have-you, I've finally opened up the Ask the Author page on Goodreads.  https://www.goodreads.com/AnneGallagher    I've set my preferences to "daily" so I will get email alerts whenever you pose a question. I will try to answer within 24 hours. When I have enough questions, I'll post them to my blog for the general readership. I'm also going to try to do a Twitter feed with this as well, but haven't worked out the details yet.

*****
In other news, WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST was supposed to be published today. However, due to some exceedingly worrisome wonkiness with both my desktop and my laptop, I've run into some
very nasty snags in my formatting. I've been working on this issue for the last several days to no avail. After spending more than 6 hours on the internet looking for solutions, I think I know what the underlying problem is, and hopefully, will have this book published by the end of this week, if not sooner.

**Yes, I did end up publishing this book today. It should be available on Amazon Monday, on Smashwords today, and Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and Apple by the end of the week.


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I have uploaded the first three books in THE RELUCTANT GROOMS series to Google Play. Unfortunately, they are only in PDF format. (Another formatting issue.) I'm working on having the rest of the series up and running by the end of March.

*****
Also, as soon as HOPE is published, I'm going to begin the work to get the rest of my paperbacks in order. I'm hoping those will be finished by the end of April for those of you who like paper between your fingers. Eventually, I'm going to offer the series in one complete set in paper. I'm looking at a few printing companies in my area to design a "box" to hold them all. You'll be able to buy them from here for less than what you would pay through Amazon or CreateSpace. I'll let you know when that happens.

*****
And finally, because I've been living with 1970's pineapple wallpaper and a "unique" maroon and beige color scheme upstairs in my house, for the remainder of the spring, I'm going to be remodeling, painting, and putting in new floors in my house. So if you don't see me, you can bet that's where I'll be. I've been trying to do this since I moved in 3 years ago, but writing has taken up all of my free time. Now the series is complete, I NEED to do this for my own sanity.


Thanks for reading. I'll see you soon.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When All Hope Is Lost

Good Morning. I know I said I wanted to have the new book finished by Valentine's Day, but I just didn't make it. I came down with a nasty sinus infection that sidelined me for a couple of days. Sorry.

However, I do have a new cover, my designer is just brilliant. She took my idea and made it perfectly perfect in every way.




I'm hoping to have this out by March 1st, barring any other unforeseen circumstances. I'll let you know.


Lady Olivia is a woman bereft – she’s lost the man she loved, her home of nearly forty years, and her title. Never one to back down from a fight, this time she walks away. There’s nothing left for her in London. She plans to live out the rest of her solitary life at a quaint little estate near Brighton.

Until the unthinkable happens and the man of her dreams walks through her front door.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Historical Research -- Settings

Good Morning. I haven't done a research post in a long time. I thought I would today.

When I first began writing, they used to call where we set our stories "Settings". Now they call it "World Building".

Anyway, last night I was working on WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST. Lady Olivia is on her way to Seaford, a little estate outside of Brighton. (If you haven't read THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE yet, I won't spoil it for you and tell you WHY she's going there.) Well, Olivia is on her way, and first of all, I needed to know how she got there. Naturally, by horse and carriage. But, the larger question was, which route did she take.

Google Maps showed me three. Yes, I Google mapped it. The route, as the crow flies is 55 miles from London to Brighton. I am presuming that the route she took was the road that has been in existence for at least 200 years. If not, oh well. I TRY to be as accurate as possible in my "world building". Sometimes it just doesn't work, so I fudge. It's fiction.

a pivotal scene in the book happens here
You may wonder why I bothered to Google the route at all if it's fiction. Because I needed to know how long it would take. 55 miles by horse and carriage = 2 days. Horses travel 25 miles per day. (Well, they can do more, however, we have Lady Olivia + 5 servants + luggage + a heavy coach. We don't want to kill the horses now do we?)


The other thing I needed to know was WHERE exactly my fictitious estate of Seaford was going to be. I chose a little out of the way town called Offham in Sussex about a mile from Lewes on the River Ouse. That is about 10 miles outside of Brighton. It looks like a farming community from what I could see on the satellite image from Google maps. The little white dots I saw were sheep. For all intents and purposes, it is just what I wanted. And I wanted it on a river because ... well, I can't tell you. You'll just have to read the book. (If you want to Google it yourself, go to Google maps, and in the search bar type in Old St. Peter's Church, or Ivors Lane, Offham, UK. You'll see exactly where the estate of Seaford is supposed to be.)

the pond
So, I knew WHERE it was going to be, now what did it look like? That my friends, is where I spent nearly three hours on Google Images sorting through pictures of manor houses and estates for sale in England. Nothing looked right. I didn't want it too big, nor too small. I wanted it a little run-down, but still serviceable. Olivia has to live there after all.

As a "visual" writer, (meaning I need to have a picture in my head of my characters and my settings which is why I spend so much time with Google Images) I generally can't write unless I can "see" who or what I'm writing about.

this is just amazingly pretty
Anyway, I found nothing in the "For Sale" categories. However, I found a picture from the NSG (National Scenic Gardens). From what I understand, they have walking tours of these  houses and gardens when in bloom -- and what a lovely idea. (We have those here in America, but on a much smaller scale.) I found a few pictures, which then led me to Coton Manor, Paxton House, and one other whose name escapes me.





For your viewing pleasure, here is my fictitious estate of Seaford. (Otherwise known as Coton Manor.)

Note the wisteria climbing up the front and the river walk
different view of the front gardens


























Naturally, when Olivia first arrives, it does not look like this. But it will when she's done with it.

I think that when writers write, their imagination is one thing, but having a visual back-up helps. In my instance, the wisteria on the front of the house lends itself into my storyline that otherwise I would not have been able to use this picture. Kind of fortuitous for me.

World Building or Settings, it doesn't matter what you call it, only that you know where your story takes place. (Naturally, this doesn't work for all genres, but it helps.)

What do you think of Seaford? Wouldn't you love to go there? I know I would.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A New Book

Good Morning. I know I said you probably wouldn't hear from me until spring, but...

I've been working on something. I call it the Final Final Resolution in The Reluctant Grooms series. Only my closest friends know what it is. It's a secret, and I'm not telling.

Being a romance author, I feel everyone deserves a happy ending. This story has already made me cry six times. And I'm only on Chapter 8. Be that as it may, I'm trying to hurry and finish it up by Valentine's Day, because everyone loves love on Valentine's day.

I did a mock-up cover for you to see, (my cover designer has had a nasty bout with illness for the last several weeks, and is just not up for it yet -- but when she is, I'm sure hers will be much better than mine) and I wrote a cryptic cover blurb.

Without further ado, here it is.




Lady Olivia is a woman bereft – she’s lost the man she loved, her home of nearly forty years, and her title. Never one to back down from a fight, this time she walks away. There’s nothing left for her in London. She plans to live out the rest of her solitary life at a quaint little estate near Brighton.

Until the unthinkable happens and the man of her dreams walks through her front door.

******

I'm not telling you any more than that and you can guess to your heart's content.

For those of you who are Jane Austen fans, you'll notice I've taken one of her great lines from PERSUASION for the title. I think it sums up the book perfectly.

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In other news, I've updated all the novels and revamped the formatting (I hope), and am slowly working my way through the novellas. If you noticed, I've also re-published A ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION. That HAS been updated with some new scenes. 

A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT is FREE across all markets (except itunes and I don't know why) and is available here on my blog under the top tabs.

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Unfortunately, working on these books had put my timeline for the new series on hold for a little while. I know I said I hoped to have the first books out in the fall, but I can't promise anything. I volunteer at my daughter's school, and we have a big event looming at the end of January, and another in May. I'm hoping to outline the first books for the new series in between, and start writing during the summer. (By the pool would be lovely.) We'll see how that goes because you know the best laid plans often go awry.

I'll keep you updated. 

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If you don't follow me on Twitter, I wish you would. I've been posting (sporadically) on the word count for the new story (12,000 words so far considering what little time I've had to write). You can find me at gallagher_anne

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Well, that's all I have for now. 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015