Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pre-orders on Amazon

Pt. Judith, Narragansett, RI
Good Morning. I am returned from vacation, less tanned than I'd like to be, and flat out getting ready for my daughter to go back to school tomorrow (where does the time go)....and of course, have captured a summer cold so this post will be short and to the point.

I finished THE LADY'S SECRET while I was on vacation. My critique partner hates me, she said the story made her cry. So I guess that means it's pretty good.

It will be available for pre-order, along with Lady Olivia's Undoing this week.

As you may remember LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING has been available for pre-order on Smashwords, Kobo, itunes, and NOOK, for the last month. It seems that Amazon does not want to be undone, so has now started offering indie/self-published authors the same opportunity.

Both, UNDOING and SECRET will be available from Amazon as pre-orders starting Sept. 1. (Or earlier if I can get out of my own way.)

LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING will be published Sept. 15th.

This picture has been my inspiration
for Arianna, the main character
THE LADY'S SECRET will be published Oct. 15th.

The last book in the Reluctant Groom Series (yes, it is coming to its inevitable end) THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE will be published at Christmas.

Once school is fully underway, I will try and make these blog posts more enticing. Reading about my publications is not a whole lot of fun. But I must do them.

I will also have a cover for SECRET very soon. It's astonishing.

Tell me -- What would you like to see me write about here?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Keeping it Real

Good morning. As you know, I write Regency romance, a sub-genre of historical fiction. In each of my books, I've done endless research to get the "history" of the period as true as I can get it. Yes, I will admit I have "fudged" some facts to make either my story, or my timeline fit together into a cohesive whole.

As an example -- In THE LADY'S FATE, it seems Prince George is a bit of sucker for romance. Was he in real life? I have no idea. But in my books he is. Why? You may ask. The simple answer -- because I wanted him to be. In his own life, Parliament would not allow him to be married to his much older, Catholic, twice-widowed wife. So I took his disappointment (which I'm sure was more akin to outrage had I actually known Prinny) and used it to my advantage.

Is that wrong? I have no idea. But it's my book and I'll write it any way I want to. To me Prince George is as real to me as my own brother.

Now, some people have said that I don't actually write "Regency" romance because I don't write like Georgette Heyer (famed author during the 40's and 50's) because I do not ascribe to the "comedy of errors" novels that she was so famous for. I'm not a fan of Heyer. Sorry. I'm sure there were a lot of comedic errors made during the Regency period, but the Regency also involved the Napoleonic Wars, as well as poverty, and suffering, and political intrigue. People were not just aristocrats having balls and dancing at Almack's. There was more to life than London Society.

Jane Austen actually LIVED during the Regency period. (And for those of you who don't know what that is, it was the period that Prince George ascended to the throne as Regent in England, because his father King George was mad. 1811-1820 or 1830 depending on who you talk to.)

As far as I'm concerned, Jane Austen is the quintessential Regency romance writer because her characters are so believable. Her characters are balanced between good and not-so-nice, most have a major life-altering ah-ha moment that changes the direction which they were following (Mr. Darcy anyone?). However, the main point in any of her stories is not necessarily romance. Yes, there's always a happily ever after at the end, but in order for the main characters to get to it, they have to go through a lot of crappy crap to get there.

To me, the main point in all Austen's work is the character arc. She strives to make each "real" with all the foibles and grace, and idiosyncrasies that make people, well, people.

She writes "personally" -- as if she knew Cathy Moreland and her penchant for imagining the worst about Captain Tilney, and Anne Elliot's desperate hunger for Frederick Wentworth. And let's not forget Emma's matchmaking meddling. How many women do you know who are just like Emma?

To me, this, this getting into their heads, is what writing is all about. I'm not going to harp on some of the ridiculous stories I've read that are published by New York (that no one even bothered to check for historical accuracy) or the wanton sex that appears on every other page (because sex sells -- guess what friends -- not so much anymore).

It's about keeping the characters real. So real that when you read, you root for, you cry with, you are devastated or elated right along with them.

Tell me -- What makes a character real for you?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

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