Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Earl's Engagement Cover Reveal

Well here it is. Hope you like it. I'm trying to finish it and get it out within the next two weeks.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Mid-Point

Well, dear readers, I am more than half-way through writing THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. My poor innocent Rosamund has gone through several ups and downs, most notably dealing with the Earl of Bailey. As she says, "He is a mordant, vexing, prig of a man!"

And that he may be, but he is also a gentle man, and kind, and thinking only of Rosamund's best interests. Unfortunately, his plans for her will soon be filled with all kinds of bumps and bruises, and in the end, it will take some strong convincing for her to truly believe he is in love with her.

Yes, that is a spoiler, but as everyone knows, romance books are written with the intention of a happy ending, so it should be no surrprise to you that Rosamund and Rory will end up together at the end. It is the journey to how they actually get there that is the story.

In this book there are also several appearances by old friends -- Haverlane and Violet, Robert and Fiona, of course Lady Olivia has another best supporting actress role, and William and Penny also make a very brief appearance toward the end.

I like adding characters from my other books, as a writer it allows readers to think about reading those other books, but more importantly, it keeps my sanity intact. Having developed this series as a wrap-around series instead of sequel-driven, it's like I have all my old friends near me if I need them. And as I'm getting closer to completing series, I want to utilize everyone equally.

I had wanted to get this book finished and published by the end of September. Well, as we all know, months fly by like leaves falling from the trees and December is no exception. Unless I somehow manage to get several marathon writing sessions in, I'm now looking at January. I hope you don't mind.

However, I am going to publish LADY CADORET'S LONGING as a separate novella, even though I said I wasn't. I think her story should have equal billing among the others. And as also it's a lead in for another novella I'm going to write next year, I think it's important for the characters in that book to be heard from.

So that's what I'm doing, and where I am, closer to the end, but not quite. Perhaps I'll have some better news for you next week.

And also, just wanted to let you know, I've finally figured out how to do the conversion process for the NOOK, so look for my books at Barnes & Noble coming soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A New Story

Yes, I've up with an idea for a new story. Another novella type short story actually. I'm not giving away any titles, or cover reveals this time because for some reason I've found this to be detrimental to my writing process. Makes me want to ditch what I have been writing for something I have no idea how I'm going to write.

Any-hoo, my next short story will star this woman. Lady Ariana Dinsmore. The eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Dinsmore. The story will be somewhat of a prequel to THE SEDUCTION OF Mr. SUMMERVILLE. In SSS (my anachronim) a lot of loose ends will tied up from the first book in the series THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.

You may wonder how can I write the last book if the first book isn't even out yet. Well, MASQUERADE has been written for the last 5 years. Problem is, as I've been writing the series (and subsequent short stories) Lady Olivia has hidden secrets from her past and in SSS all of them will be revealed. I give hints in THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. However, that being said, the foreground of all these secrets is laid in THE LADY'S MASQUERADE, which I have to insert. That poor book has been in revisions for most of these years and every time Lady Olivia does something I have to remember to re-insert that into the book.

Anyway, Lady Ariana Dinsmore has arrived back in London with her family in time for the Christmas season 1812. I know the story opens with the Twelfth Night Gala Ball at Lady Bellingham's. I know her younger sister, Lady Arabella is going to meet someone else. However, Lady Arabella has an understanding with Stephen Summerville. Although not quite engaged, it is imminent. What happnes at Lady Bellingham's that night will set the stage for what will happen in SSS. And boy howdy, when it blows up, it will leave everyone shaking their heads at the little upstart Arabella.

And even though this new short story is mostly about Ariana, I love my old characters, like seeing old friends and many will be in attendance. I think it's going to be a sweet little title and I hope you'll read it.

I have no idea when it will be finished, but I started it last night. I just can't get it off my mind. Hopefully,  before Christmas.

So there you have it. Another crazy idea.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

When Real Life Ends Up in a Book

Well, I hit a milestone over the weekend. I'm about halfway through THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. There was a snag a last week with Rory and I had to think about where the story was going -- headed in an altogether different direction -- but it's been brought back around and coming along.
You see, Rory had an accident. The scene wasn't planned, never in the outline, but that's what happens when you write. Sometimes characters take on their own destiny. I won't give you all the details, (that's for you to read after the book comes out) but Rory fell off a ladder while twenty feet off the ground and was badly injured.

I had no intention of this scene at all -- until I fell off a ladder while working on my old house. No, I didn't fall twenty feet, and it wasn't exactly a fall, more like a slip and a jump off before I fell. But I landed funny and it hurt; jarred my whole body because it was on cement. You know when you do that, it starts at your feet and works its way up to your neck. It hurts. But more importantly it scared the living daylights out of me because I was alone. What if I had fallen off and broken my neck? I was downstairs, cell phone upstairs, and seven stairs between the two. Who would find me? That kind of scenario.

They say writers write from real life experiences. So there's one of mine. I'm not sure what will happen to Rory or Rosamund because I'm almost finished with the old house so there isn't too much more I have to do. No more ladder work anyway. Being halfway through the book, I think it might behoove me to just stick to the outline I had originally written. But then, characters do take on a life of their own, so you never know.

Perhaps I'll save the "snake in the lawn mower" experience for another book.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Big Surprise

As a writer, one of the things I get a kick out of, is when the writing surprises me. Now, as any writer will tell you, their characters talk to them. Mine are no exception. They're with me all the time, wandering around in my head. When I want them to do something they don't want to do, they clam up and I'm left wondering where it all went. But as soon as I let the characters do the talking, everything flows once again.

I had one of these "revelations" the other day. Only it wasn't for this book (THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT).

It was for THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE.

You may ask, how can you be writing one book and then get a "surprise" about another one?

Well, all my books are interconnected. I'm not writing a straight series (where one book follows another). I'm writing what I call a "wrap-around" series, where all the books happen at the same time (more or less). It's been an interesting concept to deal with.

I always need to know where all my other characters are and what they're doing. ALL of them. In case they need to make an appearance somewhere else.

Which is exactly where my big surprise came in the other day.

I was working on ENGAGEMENT, when it hit me, I finally have the reason why Lady Olivia is in such a funk in this book. I know, I know, I put her there in the first place with a plausible explanation. But I always knew it wasn't good enough. Flimsy, weak. But usable. And then BAM! It hit me. Not only is Lady Olivia in a funk, she's also trying to cover her tracks because of something she did a decade ago. And now it's coming back to haunt her. But not until SEDUCTION. See, I can lay the seeds of what is wrong with Olivia in this book, and then have it all revealed in the next (which will be the last of this series.)


Writing is a strange business. That's all I can say. Five years ago, when I started writing the first book, I never expected it to morph into a series. Surprise. Now that the series is almost complete, I'm surprised again because I never thought I would have enough "plot" to make it all worthwhile. To be complete. To come around full circle. Fun stuff, this.

Tell me -- When you read a series, do you like it when the author ties everything up at the end of it? Or do you like to be kept hanging, left to your own devices as to what the characters will do next?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Unusual Characters

In writing THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT, I've decided to use some minor characters that are unusual. No, not vampires, angels or werewolves, not anything paranormal, just one little old lady and a dog.

Oona, yes, that's her name, is Rosamund's old governess. About five years back she took a tumble down the stairs and at the same time, had a heart attack. Poor Oona. Now, she can't speak, walks with a limp, and is kind of crazy. Kind of. She's very sweet though, has the mind of a child, dresses in Rosamund's old girly gowns, and wanders around the manor like some kind of Alice in Wonderland looking for mischief.

Then there's Tuck. Short for Friar Tuck. He's the dog. Originally he was going to be an Irish Wolfhound, huge beast of a dog, but the picture I have for the cover shows some kind of spaniel, so in order to not confuse the reader, I gave Tuck the spaniel features, only a little bigger. He's a "good dog, a loyal and true boon companion". That is, according to the lady who used to own him.

Now why am I placing these characters in the story? Because I can. These characters may not seem much to you now, here, in this blog post, but they add so much to the story. Unease, upset, anger, heroism, compassion, loyalty, love. And who doesn't love a crazy old lady and a dog?

Tell me -- Do you love those wacky characters in stories, or would you rather just read about the hero and heroine?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Working Hard

As a writer, in order to perfect our craft, we're told to write something every day. Whether that be 500 words or a steady goal of  1,000-2,000 words.

My goal output for the day is generally around 2,000 - 3,000 words a day M-F. I'm lucky that I'm a full-time writer. (Or at least I try to be. Motherhood always comes first.)

However, yesterday morning I decided to get into THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT for a few minutes in the morning before I started my housecleaning. I started with 10,837 words already written. I added a chapter. That brought me up to approx. 12,000 words.

I finished my housecleaning, added some laundry and a little yardwork in for good measure. Brought my plants in from the carport, and hung new curtains in my bedroom. Then I got back on the computer. I sat down at 3:30.

I walked away at 9:30. I now have 22,539 words on THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. And not all of them are bad. In fact, some of them are pretty good. I actually cracked myself up during a few passages. Of course, not everyone will find them as funny as I do, but I was having fun.

And that, my friends, is the secret to writing a novel. When you are in the "zone" and only sheer exhaustion keeps you from finishing it.

A total of 12,000 words for the day doesn't come along fairly often, but when it does, I seize the opportunity. One never knows when it will happen again.

I'm hoping to finish this novel quite quickly. I'm in love with the story, and the characters, and the words are flowing. I've added a few twists for Lady Olivia of all people (what are my novels without Lady Olivia) and Rory does get his comeuppance, not once, but possibly three times. Rosamund is a determined young woman and will do anything to keep her secret from being found out, even if it does mean marrying the wrong man.

So, that's what I've been doing lately. Today is back to the old house to finish painting the trim. You may say, "No, finish the story." But that is another secret to writing a novel. Once the words have been purged, you need to replenish the coffer. Doing meaningless repetitive tasks allows the mind to wander. Hopefully, when I'm done, I'll be able to add another 4-5K tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Excerpt -- THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT

I had some free time this weekend and decided to write some more on T.E.E. Thought I'd share a little passage with you. There are a few pages before this, but this is when Rory meets Rosamund (in disguise). Hope you like it.

*********

Riding out of London, Rory sat tall in the saddle and breathed in the fresh air. Yes, this was just what he needed. Time spent discussing books with men who were dedicated to the art of scholarly pursuits. Old Harry Merrit, Davingdale’s uncle, and he had spent a few nights interpreting Greek myths for Merrit’s tome. Rory’s field of expertise was the ancient city of Peloponnesus and although in the same mien, Rory was not very good at remembering the Olympians. Lord Briden’s company would be very welcome indeed. He knew all things pre-Roman civilization.
            Following Quiggins’ directions, he turned left onto Primrose Vale Road and followed it quite a distance. Behind several copses of trees, cows dotted the hillside and Rory saw no signs of the Warwickeshire establishment. Where was the house? The road abruptly ended with a fence and turnstile and Rory turned his horse around to face the direction in which he had come. A smallish trail of smoke drifted above him to the left. Just there, behind a dense growth of old oak, elm, and brush, Rory saw the outline of a large house. But how to get to it? There seemed to be no entrance.
            Rory walked the horse up and down the landscape searching for a way in. He urged his mount through a thicket of overgrown ivy where he found the neglected and forgotten drive. He wondered if he were in the right place. As there was only one way to find out, he encouraged the animal up the short hill where he came upon a rundown manor.
            The place sat overgrown with weeds, bramble, and looked as if it had been abandoned. A huge tree limb had fallen across the front portico, smashing one of the columns to the ground. Planks haphazardly nailed across the broken window to the left gave the appearance of a winking frown. Another limb held up the roof of the porch. He gazed again skyward, the smoke seeming to come from around back. Nudging his mount toward the side of the house, his horse stopped suddenly at the sight of an ancient woman dressed in a young girl’s calico gown.
            She hummed as she walked, oblivious to the sight of Rory on his horse. However, when she did see him, her face twisted into a grotesque mask of fright and she let out a keening cry.
            Arreeee! Arreeee!” She gathered up her skirts and fled to the back of the house.
            Rory followed, hoping at least to assure the old woman he meant her no harm. Certain he was in the wrong place, he only wanted to apologize and get direction to Briden’s manor.
            As he rounded the corner, a young servant girl in a dirty apron comforted the crone.
            “There now, Oona, all is well. No harm will come to you. Run inside and find a biscuit.”
            A branch snapped under his animal’s hoof and startled both women. The elder hid behind the younger as she picked up a rusty shovel. Rory noticed the hole in the ground and a beaten bush lying on its side. An old wheelbarrow filled with dirt and stone stood to the right of the hole. Had she dug that up herself?
            “Who are you? What do you do here?” The young woman held a threatening pose with the spade and stood her ground.
            “Forgive me,” Rory said and tipped the corner of his hat. “I was looking for the Earl of Warwickeshire’s home and I seem to be lost.”
            “What do you want with him?”
            The wench had a cheeky nerve demanding to know his business, but Rory knew these simple country folk looked out for each other. It was the same in Caithness when hunters crossed his land. His tenants always alerted him to their whereabouts.
            “I am an acquaintance of his, lately of Scotland, now in London for a short time. I thought to look him up before I departed.”
            The girl seemed to ease her grip on the implement’s handle. “What is your name?”
            “Gregory Scott, Earl of Bailey.”
            Rory couldn’t be sure, but he thought the girl blanched underneath the dirt smudges on her face. She placed the shovel on the dirt pile in the wheelbarrow and took the old woman’s hand as if she now needed comforting.
            “His lordship is not receiving today,” she said, her chin jutting forward. “If you leave a card, I will ensure he sees it.” She took a tentative step toward his horse dragging the old woman with her.
            “I would be much obliged.” Rory reached into his jacket and drew out a small square of vellum. Handing it to her, she snatched it like a pauper waiting for a loaf of bread.
            “Oona, Minnie, where are you, darlings?” A voice called out from behind the women.
            Oona broke free of the young girl and ran toward the sound. A middle-aged woman dressed in a light grey morning gown appeared on the edge of the terrace, Oona hiding behind her.
            “Minnie, why did you not tell me we had company?” The older woman smiled. “Good day to you, sir. I am the Countess of Warwickeshire.”
            “Gregory Scott, Earl of Bailey, mum. My cousin is Lady Olivia, Dowager Duchess of Caymore. I am an acquaintance of your husband through correspondence and thought to call upon him. Forgive me for not sending a card. I only thought to seek his company an hour ago.”
            “Lord Bailey, it is very nice to make your acquaintance. Unfortunately, my husband is not receiving today. Perhaps you will wait for an invitation when he is feeling better.”
            “Yes, of course. Forgive my impertinence. I had no wish to disturb you. Good day.” Rory tipped his hat once more and tugged the reins to bring his mount around.
            “No,” the young girl said and stepped forward. “It is easier on your horse if you follow the path through the meadow. We do not use the front drive any longer.”
            Rory looked down at her. “As you wish.”
            The girl made a half curtsey and went to stand with the two women on the terrace.
            Rory walked his mount past them and followed the small path down through the meadow. Upon entering some trees, he turned and gazed at the house. The two older women were gone, but the young girl remained on the terrace watching him. He waved once and then entered the cool shade of the oaks.
            If this was truly the Earl of Warwickshire’s home, he could only imagine what he would find when he met the Earl.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rosamund from THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT

In writing my stories, it seems I need a little help in "seeing" my characters before I even jot down the first word. I tend to scan the PBS/BBC film archives to find who I'm looking for. Last year in the A-Z challenge in April, I spent the whole month showing who I thought my characters would be if I met them in real life. (Scroll way down to the bottom of this page to find the archives and click on April if you want to see them.)

This is whom I chose to portray Rosamund -- Lady Rosamund Briden, the Earl of Warwickshire's daughter.

She's a sensible girl, a little high spirited, smart, loves her family, and will do anything for them.  A no nonsense kind of gal, Rosamund has a lot on her plate and digs in when the going gets tough. She's taking care of her aging parents while the manor in which they live is falling down around their ears, and the man next door wants their farm to combine with his to make an estate for his own and will do anything to get it. Forcing her hand in marriage is high on his list of priorities.

If that isn't bad enough, she's done something so nefarious and underhanded that if she's found out, there will be terrible consequences, not only for her, but her family as well. And no, sorry, I'm not telling you what it is.

Her secret is safe for the moment, but when the Earl of Bailey shows up unexpectedly on her doorstep, Rosamund is nearly hysterical, for he's the only person who could actually guess her secret. Makes for a great plot, don't you think?


This is the cover image I found for the book. They kind of look almost the same, don't you think? Okay, maybe not so much, but Thomas Lawrence's rendition of Lady Maria Conygham is just soooo pretty, I couldn't resist. Also, she's got her dog with her and I just love dogs.

I've finished the first chapter and am really excited about how it's going so far. Lots of tension mounting.

Rosamund has not been in Society, yes, she's had her come-out, but meeting men is not what this lady is all about. She'd rather cozy up with a good book in front of the fire.

So what do you think of Rosamund?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Earl's .....

Okay, so I've published the "Collection" and everything in my little writing world is hunky dory. I can breathe again, for at least a couple of weeks.

However, as every writer knows, you're only as good as your next book. So it's time to start writing my next book. Which I have. It's about the Earl of Bailey, whom we met in THE LADY'S FATE. He was the guy who played fake fiance to Violet to help her win the Marquess of Haverlane. More or less.

I wrote an outline (something I confess I almost NEVER do). I wrote an important scene (because it came to me while I was painting the ceiling and had to get it on paper -- yes paper -- before I forgot it.) I have the opening line

Gregory Francis Scott, 6th Earl of Bailey, snapped the book closed he had been reading and dropped it on the table with a small thump.

I know, it certainly doesn't sound like much of a beginning, but I promise it does get better.

All that being said, now I need a title. And I mention this only because I don't like the one I've been calling it.

THE EARL'S ENQUIRY.

This used to be called THE EARL'S ENIGMA because if you must know, the heroine, Rosamund, truly does get under Bailey's skin. But someone pointed out to me that if you look at it fast (and sometimes I do) it reads as THE EARL'S ENEMA. So I've decided to nix that title.

Then came THE EARL'S ENQUIRY, which was good when I was writing this book with a different plot line. Bailey was asking tough questions about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. But that was when I didn't have Rosamund. Now that I have her, I also have a different plot.

Hence, I need a different title. So I was thinking about THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. Which I kind of like because there are several engagements in this book that Bailey must attend to. However, I'm just not sure it truly fits.

As you can tell from my previous novels (not short stories) I'm not really good at titles -- THE DUKE'S DIVORCE, THE LADY'S FATE, THE LADY'S MASQUERADE, THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. Kind of blah, boring, but they do take in the summation of the plot. You know EXACTLY what the book will be about with the title.

(As an aside, for my short stories --novellas if you will -- I like to use the name of the main character in the title. I don't know why, I just do.)

Anyway, for those of you who follow here regularly, if you see THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT and wonder what happened to ENQUIRY or ENIGMA, they went into the recycle bin.

And if any of you have an idea for an "E" word that fits with THE EARL'S .... please share. I'm not good with titles.

Now I'm off to study the dictionary.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Romantic Regency Collection is Published

Yes, I know, it's about time. But my latest endeavor A Romantic Regency Collection is finally up and running on Amazon.


Here's the cover copy.


In this Romantic Regency Collection, Anne Gallagher takes the novellas you love and puts them together in one volume. With added content to enhance the stories you already know, she’s also included another short novella LADY CADORET’S LONGING, written exclusively for this collection.

A WIFE FOR WINSBARREN – A bumbling Viscount searches for a wife and a friend convinces him to place an ad in the newspaper to find one. Now with added chapters to include more of Rowena’s story.

LOVE FINDS LORD DAVINGDALE – Lord Davingdale wants nothing to do with women until he meets the enigmatic Miss Ophelia Trent. This short novella was written as the companion piece to A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT. Now for the first time, the two have been combined to give you both points of view in the same story.

ROMANCING LADY RYDER – Lord Greenleigh is not what he appears to be in Society. His other life – as a spy for the Foreign Office. When he meets the lovely Lady Ryder, will she spill all his secrets?

LADY CADORET’S LONGING – Lady Dorcas Cadoret, secretly engaged these five years to her childhood sweetheart, is overwhelmed with grief when Peter is killed in action two weeks before his commission is over. His brother, Daniel, is very kind, and rumors abound there is more to his attention than just being her guardian angel.
            As they share a forbidden kiss, Dorcas thinks it is Peter’s lips upon hers and Daniel is overwrought by feelings he should not be having about his late brother’s fiancĂ©e. Can Dorcas find a way to love Daniel for himself or will Peter’s memory haunt Daniel and Dorcas forever?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Home Stretch

It's certainly been a harried last few weeks trying to get the old house straightened out, but we're coming into the home stretch and by the end of this week, it will be finished and put up for sale. (I'd like to add "even if it kills me" but I have some dodgy ladder work to do in the kitchen, and I don't want to tempt fate.)

I haven't been writing per se, because I don't have the time, however, I have been taking notes and I've been working on the synopsis for THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. That book will not probably be written until next year sometime, but it's good to write notes down now, so I don't forget what I want to do with it.

I've also done some writing on THE EARL'S ENQUIRY. Funnily enough, it was a very serious, very important conversation that happens between Lady Olivia and the Earl of Bailey. I hadn't planned it that way, but sometimes that's how it happens in the writing biz. One minute you're spilling out the first line, the next you're working on the most important scene in the book with nothing in the middle. But it all works out when you get to write THE END.

But first, yes, I must get to the edits on A ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION. It shouldn't take long once I stick my mind to it, the problem is, waiting for the time. The old house was supposed to be finished last week, but with every contractor I've ever known, no one finishes on time, least of all me. And it's not that I have a lot to do, I don't. A little bit of painting, some trimwork, the floor of the deck and the bathrooms, and that's it. The weather has broken as well, so it won't be as hot or muggy and the painting will go smoothly. The COLLECTION will probably be released around the 21st if everything goes well.

As for everything else, one day at a time.

So that's what's going on and where I've been. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A New Story to Wait For

Funny what happens when you spend five hours painting the hallway and dining room. I found a new story. Not that there's a whole lot I can do with it at the moment. I'm still working on the old house and haven't had time to think, let alone write something down.

BUT...

The seeds are there.

A couple of months ago, I found pictures for a few characters for a new story (as I was building my A -Z Challenge posts for this blog) THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. I have two beautiful sisters and only one man to marry. I do know which woman will get Mr. Summerville. However, I didn't know what would happen to the other sister.

Guess what, I do now.

It seems in LADY CADORET'S LONGING I have an extra duke hanging around with nothing to do. Who needs love badly. Who wants to marry and raise children. Only problem is, he's a first class jerk. Not the stumbling bumbling Winsbarren kind of jerk. Or the "I'll do whatever I want" kind of jerk like Robert in THE DUKE'S DIVORCE. No, the Duke of Straford is a first class jerk with nary a hint of decorum or nicety about him. Someone who is not a sympathetic character at all.

And I can't wait to write about him. Unfortunately, if I look at my timetable, I won't be able to get to him until 2014.

That's the problem with this writer. I can't write everything I want to when you want to. Unfortunately, writing takes time and is something in short supply at my house these days.

However, the Monster Child goes back to school this Wednesday (1/2 days) and then back in full time the last week in August. I have 6 solid hours every day of that last week to get everything completed and finished at the old house. Come September 4th, I am dedicating those 6 hours every day to get the last of the formatting issues completed on THE ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION and then it will be published both in e-book and paperback.

Then I will go all out crazy to finish up THE LADY'S MASQUERADE because I am just so sick of that book being the albatross. Yes, it was the one that started it all, but it needs a lot of work to get it right. I need to tie up all kinds of loose ends in that before I can even think about starting THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE.  (Talk about a lead-in).  But before that book can even be started, I still have to finish THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, and THE EARL'S ENIGMA. (Which, according to my calculations, will be next year.)

(And then, let's not forget about the writing I do under my other pen name Robynne Rand. I'm working on a collection of short stories and two more novels on that side.)

You know, this is real life. In every project I ever start, I need to do 19 things first, BEFORE I can even begin to do what I want to do. You should see how long it takes when I try to clean the kitchen...

Tell me -- How frustrating is it for you as a reader to wait for the next book from an author? Do you ever wonder just exactly what they do with their time instead of writing?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lady Cadoret's Longing is Done

Seven days. It took seven days to write this short story, or is it a novella at 20,000 words? Of course, during the course of this week, I gave up laundry, vacuuming, cooking, dusting, working at the old house, mowing the lawns and showering. Okay, I did cook. Twice.

But it's done and I feel great. I like this story. It's cute. It also deals with some heavy duty topics, like death. Ewww. But I think I pulled it off with aplomb. Or perhaps after you read it you might think it bombs. I don't know.

Either way, I'm pretty happy with it. It's going into a collection with three of my other short stories. No, I'm sorry, you won't be able to find it singly by itself. I want to give people a chance to have the whole collection together in one place rather than taking space up on their e-readers.

I'm also going to put this book in paperback as well. Give-aways will be forthcoming in the fall. Perhaps if my fingers hold out, I may also be able to get THE LADY'S MASQUERADE finished in time for the celebration.

In other news, I also made a book trailer for THE DUKE'S DIVORCE. You can find it here for your viewing pleasure. http://youtu.be/3UF7waPhJ5I

Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tentative First Pages

Well, it's been a while. Two weeks to be exact. As some of you know, I've been moving. It hasn't been easy. It also hasn't been easy to find the time to write. Lady Cadoret has been giving me fits.

I started her story a long time ago. But it didn't do anything for me. It was all backstory, which, if I were honest, doesn't bother me in the least. I'm not writing for New York. However, it wasn't going anywhere and I felt the story didn't begin in the right place.

Well, one day I had an idea and BINGO! There it was. The opening of the story. I'll give you a little taste and you can tell me what you think. Bear in mind, this is a rough draft and will probably not look like this after I get through edits and revisions.

*****



Lady Dorcas Cadoret stepped down from the carriage behind her mother. Waiting for her father, she glanced up at the windows on the second floor to Caymore House. Dorcas was not looking forward to attending the Twelfth Night Ball. Another long, boring fete she must attend with her parents with no one to talk with and very few dance partners. Acquaintances saw her as a shallow, unintelligent girl who had sat for too long on the shelf. And her few friends shied away from her as her mother usually managed to make a complete ninny-hammer of both of them trying to find a suitable match for Dorcas.
            “Come along, Dorcas,” her mother snapped. “Pray do not dawdle. I hear Lady Olivia is going to make a very important announcement and I do not wish to miss it.”
            “Yes, Mother.” Dorcas lifted the hem of her skirts to avoid the mud puddle and followed her parents into the grand mansion in
Grosvenor Square
.
            Dorcas considered Lady Penelope one of her friends and did look forward to speaking with her. However, Dorcas also knew that Penny would probably not have the time. If only she could escape her mother's side for two minutes.
            Leaving her cape with the footman at the door, Dorcas dutifully followed her parents up the broad staircase to the receiving line, where Lady Olivia, the Duke and Duchess of Olmstead, and Lady Penelope and her handsome husband Lord Caymore stood.
            Dorcas caught a glimpse of the ballroom, still decorated with holly and pine boughs from Christmas. The crystal chandeliers twinkled like stars amid the massive throng of gaily-dressed people milling about the parquet floor.
            “Do stand up straight, Dorcas,” her mother hissed. “There is nothing worse than a slouching woman.”
            “Yes, Mother.” Dorcas sighed.
            “And for pity’s sake, paste a smile on your face. How do you expect to gain the attention of a man if you look as if you were attending a funeral?”
            “Yes, Mother.” Dorcas slightly lifted the corners of her lips.
            “There now, that is much better.” Countess Shreve patted her daughter on the arm. “You will also remember to mention nothing of your headache. Your father wishes to remain all evening and I will not have him upset. Perhaps later, I may enquire of Lady Olivia if you might take a respite in a quiet room, but for now, I wish you to seem happy and gay.”
            “Yes, Mother.”
            Their turn to say hello to the hosts had arrived and Dorcas curtsied. 
            “Dorcas, it is so lovely to see you again,” Penny said, grabbing Dorcas by the hand. “I am so glad you could attend this night.”
            “Thank you, Lady Penelope. Tis an honor to receive such a kind invitation.” Dorcas felt a bony finger in her back nudging her to move forward. She remained where she stood. “I do hope we shall be able to speak for a few moments later in the evening.”
            “Yes, I look forward to it.”
            Another poke in her ribcage forced Dorcas to step away. Her mother grabbed her arm. “It is not ladylike to monopolize the hosts in such a way, Dorcas. They have more important people to speak with than you.”
            As her mother went to speak with friends, Dorcas turned away and walked to stand with the other wallflowers. Years of listening to her mother harp at her had hardened her to the censure, but still, just once, she would like to hear one kind word from her mother’s lips. If her mother thought about it, she might realize Lady Penelope could be a boon to Dorcas’ standing in Society. However, Dorcas knew her mother would never put stock into allowing such an intimate acquaintance. Dorcas, as the only daughter of the Earl of Shreve, was not high enough born to be in the same social circle.
            “Dorcas?”
            Dorcas looked up from her perusal of the floor to find her old friend Violet, now the Marchioness of Haverlane standing in front of her.
            “Lady Violet,” Dorcas said, surprised. She made a quick curtsey. It had been some time since the two had spoken. Violet’s one Season had landed her a wealthy Marquess.
            “Please do not stand on such ceremony, Dorcas. We are friends, are we not?”
            “Yes, of course.” She prayed her mother would not take this moment to attend her.
            “Good, then I am going to spirit you away with me. I cannot bear to see you standing here so alone and forlorn. Come, I will introduce you to some new friends and we will all be a merry party while we wait for Penny.”
            “Violet, I am not sure I may. My mother, you see…”
            Violet placed her hand on Dorcas’ arm. “Violet, I am the Marchioness of Haverlane now. If I choose to have you as my especial friend this night, surely, your mother will have no objection.”
            Dorcas smiled. “I’m afraid you do not know my mother.”
            “No, I do not, but Lady Olivia does, and it was she who sent me to you, so your mother cannot disapprove. Come now, I will brook no refusal.” With that, Violet wrapped her hand around Dorcas’ elbow and pulled her away from the corner.
     

Anne Gallagher copyright (c) 2012                  
*****

So what do you think? Do you hate Lady Shreve as much as I do? Do you think poor Dorcas will find her mettle and stand up to her?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Regency in Rhyming Verse

Forgive my not being around these last few weeks. I know I mentioned something about a series awhile back, but I'm still moving from the old house. Problem is, it's been hovering in the low 100's here in NC for the last fortnight and the heat is just sucking the life right out of me.

But here for your viewing pleasure is a poem my very dear friend, Mr. Robert Van de Laak has written for me that I would like to share with you. It's very clever, indeed, and I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.


To Anne

In years gone by, a chef was she,
Cooking meals, for you and me.
But aches and pains across her spine,
Put an end to such food divine.
After many years of making meals,
She put away her knives and steels.

That strange white coat she used to wear,
Is gone now, and she’s loosed her hair.
The hat she wore to keep it hidden,
Lies in the cupboard now, unbidden.
If you’ve not tried it, please be told,
A chef’s long shift soon makes you old.

So, Anne’s given up her ladle, and taken up the pen,
She’s moved out of the kitchen, to sit now in the den.
She writes of England, in those times,
When Lords, and Ladies suffered climes
Which seem much worse now, looking back,
As castles then were cold and black.

Of regencies, by fat old princes,
Whose morals too, caused many winces.
The clothes, I’ll grant, were more explicit,
Off the shoulder, “Ooh, exquisite!”
The men, you see, had all the pleasures,
Viewing up close the young girls’ treasures.

What fascinates us now, I ponder,
Just what went on in that land yonder.
The best of men went off to France,
While fops, and fribbles, stayed to dance.
At balls, cotillions, fairs, and routs,
They spent their days in drunken bouts.

Some men came back from Hooky’s wars,
Some in one piece, some carried sores.
From fights in Portugal, or Spain,
In dust, or dirt, or driving rain.
To marry rich, appealed to many,
The family’s poor, we haven’t got a single penny.

“My brother, Sir, he was the heir,
While fighting Bony, he died there.
I was there too, at Waterloo,
And now I’m back, what must I do?
My father died, the coffer’s bare,
The estate’s ruined, I was the spare!”

“The flower of English manhood lost,
Never did we expect to pay such cost.
We went to war, for King and country,
What did we get, for our effrontery?
The noble familes of this nation.
Suffering now, through much privation!”

My factor, limping on his crutch,
”I’ll tell you sir, it’s all too much.
The estate is broken, and unless,
You marry quick, and an heiress,
You’ll find despite your best orison,
Soon you’ll be in debtor’s prison!”

“So you see, sir, it makes me sick,
Soon I’ll be at the river Tick.
I’m still so young, I’d rather tarry,
But my lawyer, sir, he bids me “MARRY!”
I now have a title, your daughter-wealth,
I’d wed her in church, or even by stealth.”

Manufactories in Sheffield , ‘Brum’,
Mills for cloth, began to hum.
Their owners, smart, came into money,
Said to their daughters, “There, there, Honey.
The ‘ton’ is poor, and with all my blunt,
The marriage mart for a spouse you’ll hunt”

They may turn up their big, noble beak,
But money shouts, it doesn’t squeak!
Where riches are, some men will jump,
No, No, my dear, forget your hump!
He’s poor, you’re rich, he’ll take the hint,
He’ll marry you, despite that squint!

“What’s that? Marry for love?
What ever are you thinking of?
That whole idea’s just a con,
You’ll soon see THAT within the ‘ton’.
They care not who, or even where,
Once they’ve begotten their damned heir!

If you are careful, nay discreet,
Take who you like up in your suite!
A strong young footman, or a valet,
Invite them quietly in to your salle’.
Your maid of course you’d have to trust,
'cause otherwise, your name is bust.

But as you’re rich, not dumb, but clever,
You should reward her quiet endeavour.
Perhaps you’ll find that she would rather,
For her own child acquire a father.
On your estates in nearby Kent,
You JUST might know of such a gent!
Your husband grows sugar in Jamaica,
Maybe his manager, out there might take her.
Deceit? I know, can be a pain,
But, so’s  the love you have to feign. 
I’d think it through, before you start,
Lest others think to call you “Tart!”

To Gretna Green, so many fled,
In disgrace, or too young to wed.
Over the anvil, or by priest,
But married you are, to say the least.
You won’t have to bear any cruel teasing,
Though all can see that you’re increasing!

The ladies talked while taking tea,
Their pinkies held out straight, you see.
The conventions were all of side saddle,
They condemned the one who rode astraddle.
They were just hoydens and uncouth,
“Forgive them dear, it’s just their youth.”

Reputation destroyed, by malicious mouth,
Of family names were all sent south.
“We must defeat the opposition,
Fight and beat, the competition.
To achieve in marriage, a duke or earl,
Avoiding of course, the untitled churl.”

I’ve read a lot of these fine novels,
The rich lived well, the poor in hovels.
But there’s one thing where authors cavil,
So many horses, used for travel.
Horses pulled the curricles, and carts,
Yet no one ever mentions FARTS!

To Bath each year, so many went,
To drink the waters, and repent
Them of their gross excesses,
They all imagined they had stresses.
So many meals, so many course
Such lovely foods, and all those sauces.

The waters, we know, were quite revolting,
Yet each year they went, exulting.
The men in wigs, even some women,
As we know now, and they knew then,
Their wigs, their hair, with glorious “perms” in,’
Often hid lice, and other vermin!

The next stanza I should abhor,
But I simply can’t, will not ignore.
Their personal hygiene I fear,
Does not come through so loud and clear.
Soap of the day was harsh and strong,
Made from lye, potash, felt wrong.

A dedicated room for washing?
“Oh my dear, you must be joshing!
Some hot water in a bowl, a cloth, some soap,
A quick swipe and there, we’ll cope.
After that, just like the French,
Our bodies in perfume we’ll drench!

Softer soap from across the Channel,
Feels so good, on a nice new flannel.
Softly scented, violets, roses,
Does not offend those genteel noses.
Even strong scents from India far,
Helped to hide some smells, like tar!

We read of powder, patch, and pearls,
Hair up, or down, straight, or in curls.
“A cap sleeve now, on both your shoulder,
 No, lower dear, it looks much bolder!
If coy you are, then wear a fichu,
You can even bulk it out with tissue!

Your honour lost? “Oh, quel horreur!”
Was it love, or rape, by force majeur?
No other choice now, off you hie,
We’ll hope it’s forgotten, by and by.
If all else fails, you go abroad,
Perhaps you’ll wed some foreign lord.

Have you enjoyed these word  ajumble?
Such English words I love to tumble.
For me, It started with Miss Heyer,
Her times and gentry lit my fire.
Poetry should scan, and rhyme,
 Prose is not so near sublime!

(c) 2012 Robert Van de Laak


Wasn't that just fantastic? Robert is an amazing copy editor/proofreader (you can find his website here) and as you can see, a fabulous poet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lady Cadoret's Longing

As some of you may know, I've been moving. Sorry I missed my blog post yesterday.

But in the transporting of my "stuff" from one house to the other, I've found the beginnings of a new story. Actually, the beginning, middle, backstory, and almost the end of another short story -- Lady Cadoret's Longing.

Lady Dorcas Cadoret has been in a few of my short stories. She's the pretty lady no man wants to speak with because all she talks about is her cat. I felt bad for her, I thought for sure the Earl of Greenleigh would have seen through her feline fancy, but alas, he found his true love in Lady Ryder.

It's come to my attention (through the sheer physical exhaustion of my days) that Lady Dorcas Cadoret is not as shallow as most people think. She's lost someone very dear to her heart and has never found another to take his place. Hence all the cat talk. She doesn't want to be bothered looking for someone new. She'd rather remain loyal to her one true love than find someone else.

Her mother has other plans. And so does Lady Olivia. Only problem is, I have no idea who is going to sweep her off her feet. The man has not come to me, or to her yet. I'll let you know when he does.

Also, in case you wanted to stop by, I will be guest posting on Romantic Friday Writers today -- my topic -- historical research. This is a brief overview of something I'm trying to put together on this blog over the next couple of weeks -- breaking down historical research into palpable bite size pieces. Hope to see you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What I'm Doing Now

Forgive my absence last week. One thing led to another and before I knew it the weekend was gone. I do try to post every Sunday.


For those of you who didn't know, I've published ROMANCING LADY RYDER. I do wish someone would tell me what they think, but nary a soul has written in public or private. I believe, the first review is always the hardest to hear, only as the waiting draws out the OCD tendencies to check the book stats every hour. lol.








I've finished combining A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT and LOVE FINDS LORD DAVINGDALE. I've been wanting to do that for a long time and just now
recently have completed the task. Why, you may ask did I wait so long? Why did I write them separately in the first place? 

I wrote Miss Trent as a companion piece to A WIFE FOR WINSBARREN as she is one of the ladies he meets. However, once the story was finished, as it was only written from Ophelia's point of view, I knew I needed to add Davingdale's. However I didn't really know Davingdale all that well as a character so it took me some time to get him just right. He also appears in a novel I started writing, so I had to mesh the two timelines and characters.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up  -- I've combined these two short stories into novella length, and along with ROMANCING LADY RYDER, a revamped version of A WIFE FOR WINSBARREN, and two  new short stories LADY CADORET'S LONGING, and a title to be named later, I'm going to put them all into one volume. A ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION. Which will also allow me to produce it in paperback for those of you who are so inclined to read paper books.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get this together as I'm in the middle of a move and although I'm trying to keep my computer up and running for as long as possible, I'm going to have to stop at some point. Hopefully, I'll have it ready by the end of the summer.

So that's what I'm doing now.