Sunday, December 29, 2013

Intimate Portrait -- Captain Richard Gaines

As we approach the release of THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE, I thought now would probably be a good time for his Intimate Portrait. I know who Richard is, but you might not.


Richard
Captain Richard Gaines is one of my most endearing heroes. Well, I like him anyway. However, Richard is also one of my most troubled heroes. He's suffering from mental battle scars.(In doing my research I found Trafalgar was the bloodiest sea battle in the Campaign with over 20,000 men, and 52 ships lost - however not one ship was British.) He's filled with angst and anxiety, sleep deprived, depressed, PTSD, can't find anything to snap him out of it. Until he meets Amanda.


Amanda
Problem is, Amanda's married. Yes, she is. To a despicable man, the most villainous villain I have ever created. (Worse even than Thomas Entin-Hicks from MASQUERADE.) Amanda was also best friends with Penny when they were children, so that's part of the plot line. 

When I first began to write Richard's story 10 years ago, I think (looking back on the manuscript now) he was actually my prototype for Ellis (Marquess of Haverlane LADY'S FATE). You know, that strong silent type, feels inwardly, doesn't say much. However, in  rewriting this book, I'm going to give Richard "more".  I'm not sure what the more is at this point, but he won't be too much like Ellis when I'm done.

After Trafalgar, Richard resigned his commission. I know, that's really not done but he did. (It's my book after all.) Since then, he's become somewhat of a detective. Not so much a Bow Street Runner, more like Columbo. He has bodyguards to let out for visiting dignitaries and such, and is often hired to find missing or stolen objects that no one else can seem to find. And because he's rich and has impeccable connections, (His father is cousin to the Earl of Brumbley, Winsbarren's father -- which is how Richard met William through Winsbarren as Winsbarren and William went to school together -- follow that logic if you dare) he's often invited to balls and parties. 

However, he doesn't go to be sociable, he only attends to keep his ear to the gossip. Which is why he's such a good detective. After he helped save Penny (MASQUERADE) Lady Olivia took a liking to him. He's quite possibly the only man in London who isn't afraid of her -- only her matchmaking schemes. 


Amanda's husband
In this story, Amanda has come back to England with her husband who's interested in the cotton mills. (He's a Southerner, with a cotton plantation and slaves, which is how he made his fortune, among other ways.)

Richard meets Amanda briefly one night in London and falls in love with her at first sight. Unfortunately, she's on her way to Manchester to view the cotton mills with her husband. Richard thinks she's a witch and woven a spell over him as he just can't forget about her.


As I started rewriting this novel, I found Richard had more than his fair share of coincidences. Hence the new title. It's been a twisty-turny road to get this novel finished. I had to chuck all my previous research and start from scratch, which has led to more research. And in trying to get it finished quickly, I missed two very important scenes that my lovely critique partners were more than happy to point out to me.

However, we're almost there. Just a couple more chapters and I think we can publish by the end of January. At least that's what I tell myself.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Finishing THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE

I know, it seems lately I've been taking blog breaks every other month. I think so anyway. If I haven't told you before, I took a volunteer position at my daughter's school and it's a lot more work than I thought it would be, which is why I spend almost all my time at school these days instead of at home writing.

I am trying desperately to get THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE finished before Christmas, or at least by the middle of January and it's not going the way I wanted. I probably should not have added the Dread Pirate Moody so late in the game, but he's a good character. Now I just have to flesh him out.

I'm going on break for the next couple of weeks. Believe me, as soon as I get this book wrapped up I will let you know. Perhaps I'll even have the cover made for inspiration. That usually gets my fingers flying faster.

I hope I'll see you before the holidays with some very good news.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Exploding Brains and the Dread Pirate Roberts

Good Morning. Yes, that is exactly how I feel -- like my brains are exploding. Last week I mentioned how I was writing rather nicely along and then I spent 5 days (total) outlining my new series. Well, no sooner had I gotten back to Richard, and was writing  rather nicely along, and I got stuck.

I had a great story, but by Chapter 10, there was nothing left to it. 28,000 words would leave me with a novella. I messed up somewhere. No matter which way I wrote, I got stuck. Couldn't move the story along. Not forward, not back.

On Thanksgiving night, somewhere in the back of my stupifed, triptophan-ed, way-too-much-dessert-sugar-rush-brain, I realized I wanted to watch a movie. (Bear with me) "Oh, what is on Thanksgiving night, I wonder," I said to myself. And as the years of Thanksgiving nights zoomed through my memory banks, The Princess Bride came to mind. What a funny movie. I thought to myself. Cary Elwes is so cute. And I just love Inego Montoya. Who wouldn't love Robin Wright. And Andre the Giant. He used to wrestle in South Attleboro when I was a kid. What was her name in the movie? Buttercup, that's right. and she was in love with Eric, who was really the Dread Pirate Roberts.

And BOOM, there is was. A small eruption inside my head and then my brains exploded all over the desk. I would have screamed I was so excited, but I was afraid I would scare my daughter.

THE. DREAD. PIRATE. ROBERTS. was going to fix my book. Okay, not the real Dread Pirate Roberts, but after some searching on the internet, I added my own pirate. The Dread Pirate Moody. Christopher Moody was a real pirate. From 1713 or so in the Carolinas.

So on Thanksgiving night, when all I wanted to do was crawl into my yummy jammys and nap on the couch, I ended up at my desk in the cold cold basement, working out a perfectly new plot line with a pirate (yay) that I can easily insert into the already written narrative and finish writing Richard's book.

My brother used to say, "I'm so smart, I scare myself sometimes." I know how he feels.

Tell me -- How do you feel about pirates? They were big in the 90's when Fabio graced every romance cover. Do your brains ever explode? Have you ever used a pirate in any of your stories?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I Have a New Series

Good Morning. I was writing along, working my little fingers to the bone, Richard and I were just being washed overboard in 12 foot swells, when the strangest thing occurred. I had an idea. Okay let me just say I had this idea a while ago. Maybe this spring. But it hasn't really shown itself fully to me so I just let it stew. And just as I was bringing Richard to a crossroads, inspiration for the idea struck.

Well, they say creativity makes your brain expand, so I put Richard aside for two seconds, just to jot down a couple of notes, (because if I didn't, I would regret it later)  a quick 5 minute search for names (which didn't pan out by the way. I thought them all up in the car in the pick-up line at school) and a quick outline. That's all. I just needed twenty minutes.

Three days later I had written copious notes on each of the characters, the family tree, and how it pertains to Lady Olivia, (yes that Lady Olivia.) I outlined the whole series, with each plot for each separate book (7 in all and one novella), had also written five scenes. Funny scenes I hope. They're meant to be funny anyway.

Once I had all that, I then went to Google images and found everybody I need for character inspiration. I also worked out three sub-plots that will weave throughout each of the books to the final conclusion at the very end.

Having said all that, I'm not going to tell you anymore. However, here is my new hero.



age 35

age 50
He is the main character that will appear in each of the new books. And I'm not going to tell you anymore.

Especially his name.

If I say too much, I'll jinx myself.
If I say nothing at all, I'll explode.





I'm hoping to return to Richard's story as soon as I get all this falderal out of the way. I think I'm almost finished with notes.

So tell me --  What do you think of my new hero? Is he swoon worthy enough? (And I know Sharpe's been done to death, but I'd like to think I have a unique perspective.) Do you think it's too soon to announce a new series -- should I have waited until after I finish The Reluctant Grooms first? (  I just couldn't stand the excitement.)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Title Changes

Good Morning. As you must know from the last few posts I've written, I'm working on Richard's story -- THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. Research took a lot of time, but lately I've been working diligently on the narrative and hoping to really get the word count up before the end of November. (I know I said I wanted the book finished by Thanksgiving, but... it's not going to happen. I have the discipline, however, the world around me keeps interrupting.)

Anyway, I was reviewing a chapter the other day, when I noticed I had written Richard several coincidences in his quest to find Amanda. The man seems to always be in the right place at the right time. When he gets in a jam, boom, two pages later, help comes in the form of another coincidence.

Now, I didn't originally intend to write this story this way. Believe me, Richard and Amanda have a LOT of obstacles to overcome. For every coincidence that seems to help them, I throw another obstacle in their way. Oh yes, I'm taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride.

But, in the middle of all this, I realized THE CAPTAIN'S LADY wasn't going to work as a title. All my novellas have the name of one of the characters in them. (Winsbarren, Davingdale, Lady Ryder, Lady Cadoret) That's how I differentiate them from my novels. My novels on the other hand have a noun and a verb.

THE LADY'S MASQUERADE -- THE DUKE'S DIVORCE -- THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT -- THE LADY'S FATE

See. Yes, they are simple sentences/titles. I suck at titles. Always have, so I don't fight it. But with Richard's story THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, that is just the suckiest of them all. It doesn't even make sense or work with any of the others. Sooooo...

I've come up with

THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE.

Yes, I know, ultra simple, but at least it has a noun and a verb and makes a little more sense to describe what the story is about. Check the above -- Masquerade, Divorce, Engagement, Fate, and now we have Coincidence.

I think it works.

Tell me -- What do you think? Do titles really make a difference whether you read or not read a book? Anyone have a better word? I like coincidence, and it fits the story, but I always second guess myself.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Pushed Back Novel

Good Morning. For those of you who don't know what a "pushed back" novel is, the simple explanation is -- a novel that you've started and then pushed back to the end of the line to write something new.

My latest novel THE CAPTAIN'S LADY is one of those. Way back when, I wrote (and finished) THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. Then I began THE DUKE'S DIVORCE and THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. When I first began this writing adventure, I had it in my mind that William, Robert, and Richard were friends of long standing. These were/are the first three books in my series THE RELUCTANT GROOMS. I finished MASQUERADE. However, DIVORCE and LADY sat at 30,000 words each.



But before I finished those, I got sidetracked by Ellis and Violet and just had to write THE LADY'S FATE. I loved that book, the words flowed, and before I knew it I had written the end. And then along came the novellas. I had new friends I wanted to write about and again, before I knew it, I had three of those written, along with finished DIVORCE and then I just had to write THE EARL'S
ENGAGEMENT.


However, in the midst of all this writing, I knew I had to go back and rework MASQUERADE. The series had found its underlying element (which I didn't know when I started writing it) and so, rewriting MASQUERADE took some time. Over a year as a matter of fact. But I did it and it's done, and now I'm trying to tie up all the loose ends about Richard and Amanda before I start the final phase of the series.

I digress, but I think you needed to know that before we get on with the post. Now, because THE CAPTAIN'S LADY has been pushed back for so long, the 30,000 words that I have are unusable. They stink like last week's trash. The dialogue is horrendous, the narrative is mostly backstory, and although I still like the plot, I've found I can't use the setting.

Which brought me to doing more research. Now as you probably know, writing a historical romance novel involves research. You can't just sit down and write a book without doing "some". And because I've been writing historicals for a long time, I have the gist of the Regency era. But with each of my stories, I've had to dive into "select" pieces of history to get the story "right".

In ROMANCING LADY RYDER I stepped into a small portion of the Russian's side of the Napoleonic Wars (with some artistic license if you will.) In MASQUERADE we had the issues of primogeniture and Letters Patent. In DIVORCE we took a look at the issue of divorce and annulment.

And here in THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, we're dealing primarily with ships. Now, if you think I could get away with, "Richard got on the boat and went to Liverpool to find Amanda" you would be wrong. Okay, maybe not wrong, but that is just so boring. Don't you think? So what did I do? I spent three weeks with a very great learned friend discussing via email, the intricacies of ships and guns and crew and sails and barges and ocean swells and storms and you get the picture. And I probably won't even use a third of what I've found, but knowing it does make all the difference in writing it.

Now, as I'm writing the story and I have most of my research finished (one never really finishes with research until the end), I have to get back into the plot. Which was a fairly good one if I do say so myself. However, in the earlier versions Richard and Amanda were in the America's and the sub-plot was the abolitionist movement. Slavery was abolished in England in 1807 thanks to William Wilburforce. (If you haven't seen the movie Amazing Grace, do. It's fantastic.) But here we are with Richard and Amanda's story now set in England and all the writing I had done I can't use now.

And let us remember that I also have the issue of overlapping characters. If you've read my books you know that I always have someone from another book in the story. Or maybe two or three someones. So I have to remember who was married to whom, and when, and where they were within the time frame of the present story. Ugh. It's a lot to make the pushed back novel cohesive to the rest of the series.

And you may ask why I even bothered to write this if it was so much work. Why do I even need to make Richard a viable character when he does so well as a periphery character in so many of my other books? Because I love Richard. I love Amanda. I love their story and how they overcome all the odds that I have thrown at them.

Is it worth it to finish this pushed back novel? You bet. Why? Because the series wouldn't be what it is without them in it. This exercise (if you will) has also shown me just how far I've come in my writing. My first draft back then is so much different than my first draft now. I've learned the "craft" of writing, I've learned the "rules" of writing and understand when and how I can break them.

A lot of writers talk about the "book of their heart" and how someday they're going to write it. (Because as most writers understand, being an author is a "business" and we're all looking for success. You need to write a great book to become successful.) A "book of the heart" is something that usually gets pushed back until you achieve that success.

Richard and Amanda's story is one of the books of my heart. I want to tell their story and I want to do it well. It may not be a commercial success, but I want it to be heard.

Tell me -- Do you have a "pushed back" novel sitting on your hard drive, under your bed in a box with the dust bunnies, in a file marked "later"? Do you have a "book of the heart"?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Timeless Romance... Modern Day Dilemmas

Back in the olden days of writing (the 70's and 80's) authors were published by traditional New York publishing houses. If they wrote good stories and made lots of sales they rose to the top of the Best Seller lists. In genre writing (which is what historical romance is) those authors were "known". Stephen King is the king of horror fiction. Danielle Steele the queen of romance.

In this new publishing world of independent authors, we (most of us) do not hit any Best Seller lists for long. We rise to the top if we've worked hard and built a fan base, and are rewarded thus when we release a new book. But then it fades because we lose momentum. We don't have New York and the big money behind us pushing book tours and placement in the (now defunct) traditional bookstores.

What I've seen lately are authors who are using taglines to describe their work. One sentence that follows the author's name in blog post headers, on comments on blogs, in their Web presence.

"Romance through the mists of time..."
"Crime Fiction with a Kiss..."

You get the idea.

Awhile ago I decided to come up with one for my own writing. Not because I necessarily needed one, but because I received some comments from readers who don't understand what I'm writing.

In studying Austen's work, any of her work, she dives deep into the psychological make-up of women of that era and uses that against the mores and social customs of the time. Mr. Darcy is a snob. One can't deny it. He has no use for the lower classes. Until he meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Who in her own way is also a snob. She certainly has no use for Mr. Darcy.

In Emma, when she tries to match-make for Harriet. Austen shows the plight of women as she believes Harriet deserves more than she is worth by trying to fix her up with high-born men. In Northanger Abbey, we see the destruction of Isabella who is trying to make a play for Captain Tilney. And we can't forget Eleanor and Edward's tragic story. Need I say more?

In all of Austen's work, there is the stigma of a woman being less than, that we cannot aspire to be "better than we ought to be." There is a deep understanding of the human condition and the frailty of what it was to be a woman. Women had no rights, had no chance of becoming "more" than what their station observed. A parlour maid could not marry a duke.

In my romances, I try to take that same stigma and surround the plot with a modern day dilemma. In THE LADY'S FATE we have a much younger woman with an older man. In THE EARL'S ENGAGMENT we have a daughter taking care of a father with dementia. In THE DUKE'S DIVORCE we have a man who cannot reconcile himself to loving a woman who is so different than himself. LADY CADORET'S LONGING, a woman is grieving over the loss of her love through the vagaries of war.

In my next novel, THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, there is an element of danger. The husband is cruel to his wife. ( I do not write the violence, however I allude it is there. ) Spousal abuse is not something I wanted to write about, however, it seems the characters thought their story should be told. I hope I do it justice.

In real life, as well as back in 1811, life is not dropping a handkerchief and hoping some nice soldier will pick it up and you'll live happily ever after. Life is, for the most part, filled with the everyday conundrums that make us human. The happy and the not so much. War, cancer, Alzheimer's, spousal abuse, addiction -- these are some of the things that women must face in the modern era. How we tackle them and get through each day is what makes us or breaks us.

Same as in my stories. I write what I see and what I've experienced in my own personal life. As the saying goes -- "Write what you know." Well, my stories are what I know.

And that's why I write Timeless Romance....with Modern Day Dilemmas. Because at the end of the day, when we get through our dilemmas, we all need a happy ending.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Historical Research -- Ships and Boats

Good Morning. Well, now that the book signing is over, I've finally gotten back to Richard's story -- The Captain's Lady. And I haven't done an Historical Research post in a long time, so I figured I was due.

 As we know, my main character, Captain Richard Gaines is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.  He resigned his commission soon after the Battle of Trafalgar and wanders the Thames at night searching for relief from his nightmares. He's fine, more or less, during the day, but he can't sleep.

Anyway, I was having a conversation (email) with a friend of mine, a very learned friend and as I was describing Richard's story (briefly) I used the words ship and boat synonymously. My friend corrected me "You do know that ships carry boats. Boats are small vessels."

I had to grin. Yes, I do know that, but as I told him, I'm a writer and don't necessarily use the same word to describe the same thing, hence, ship/boat. I had done a boatload (excuse the pun) of research before, but leaving the book sit for so many years, once I got back into it, I realized I couldn't do what I wanted to do with the plot. (You tend to learn things when you do research and what I learned was that England and the US were going to be going to war when Richard's story was set. So I couldn't have Richard cruising the waters off North Carolina. Well, I suppose I could have but then the book would have been more historical than romantic.)

So, I started doing more research. About boats. Excuse me, about ships. Specifically, Ships of the Line. The Royal Navy had several different classes of Ships of the Line, which could carry different complements, had various guns, could perform different jobs.

A "gun" was a cannon, mounted inside the boat. (Different classes of guns -- some were bolted to the floor, others were on a "bungee" system of ropes -- and no they were not called bungees, but I can't remember what they were called. Suffice it to say, when the cannon fired, it recoiled and then bounced forward. The ropes were used to keep it from blowing out the back part of the ship.)

74 Guns were considered small ships. With 4 men to handle a gun, (more or less), powder monkeys (boys who ran down the line and gave each gun the powder for the cannon), and ball men ( on one website of nautical terms I found several euphemisms that have come down through the years about balls -- brass balls, busting balls, etc. ). So below decks during a battle, there were about 100 men slaving away trying to keep the cannons loaded and firing.

Above decks, there were sailors (men who climbed the ratlines to unfurl the sails 3 men per sail, 3 sails per mast, 3 masts per ship), midshipmen (who took care of the decks 6 per side) carpenters, sailmakers, coopers, officers, petty officers, junior officers, mates, master mates and a whole array of other men who had lesser jobs. The life was hard, disgusting, dirty, the food horrible, the pay (if you weren't an officer) negligible. Which was why impressment was so prevalent during the Napoleonic wars.

On a 74 gun, a typical complement was 220 men. (Notice the word complement has an e not an i. Two different words.) That's a lot of men on a boat. With the guns taking up most of the hold, you can just imagine what the sleeping quarters were like.

And this is just a 74 gun Ship of Line. Can you even imagine what a 90 gun was like? 350 men? I can't fathom it.

Do I really need to do all this research for a romantic novel? The true answer is yes and no. I could have just skipped to the parts I really needed. Who was whom on the vessel and what they said or did. Do I have to know the names of the parts of the ship? Do I have to know the difference between a yeoman and a first mate or a petty officer? Not really. Will it add anything to the story if I mention the binnacle was wrapped in brass? Kind of but no, not especially.

Then why do I take so much time to do all this unnecessary research? Especially as I'm not even placing Richard on a Ship of the Line. As there will only be one very small battle between a cutlass and a trabocolu. Because I need to know what I'm talking about. If I said the bosun was manning a gun, I would be oh so very wrong and someone, somewhere would call me on it. Will I actually use most of the research I've done? Probably not. However, what I do use will be accurate and that is important. To me doing all this research helps set the "tone" of the novel. If I can't get the right tone, those scenes will be worthless.

So ask me what my favorite part of the research will be?

Watching the Horatio Hornblower series with Ioan Gruffud and Master and Commander with Russell Crowe.

Swashbuckling, dashing, an oh-so-romantic Naval heroes. Now you know why I do my research.



Tell me -- Do you appreciate an author who does detailed research? Or would you rather just skip to the romantic parts?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Book Signing

My first book signing was Friday night, for WHEN SUCH FRIENDS WERE MET. It was held at the Fall Festival at my daughter's school. While she ran around and played, I signed books with one of the "stars" of the book, Dianne. Mrs. Heaton, the other "star" had to go to D.C. for her son's engagement party.



Dianne and I had a great time. She knows EVERYBODY so we always had a full table. We sold quite a few books, and have promises from others to buy when we get back to school tomorrow.

I have more pictures, but I can't find my cable for the camera. If you check back by the end of the week, they should be up.

Have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Would You Recognize An Author if you Saw One

Good Morning. As you all know, I've been involved in a project for my daughter's school. WHEN SUCH FRIENDS WERE MET was released a few weeks ago, and the paperback is having its debut at the Fall Festival this weekend.

However, most people at the school still don't know that I'm an author. They just think of me as...well, truthfully, I think I'm like everyone else -- just someone's mom.

As we've been promoting this book for the festival book signing, the woman who runs the after school care program came into the office one day and wanted to know what this "book" was about. I was standing there, but the secretary decided to fill her in. And then the secretary turned to me and said, "And here's our very own writer-in-residence."

Well, "Betty" looked at me and just about freaked out. "You wrote this?" "You're the writer everyone's been talking about?" Of course, I  couldn't deny it. Although I had kind of wished I was wearing something other than my gardening clothes. Being my daughter's mother is one thing, being an author is another. I'd like to look like I'm smart enough to be a writer and not someone who's been attacked by an angry mud mob.

I chose a pen name a long time ago so that I would always be able to keep my writing life and my real life separate. Not that I ever expected to be famous, but in today's crazy world and social media insanity, I just wanted to keep some semblance of privacy. So far it's worked.

Until last week when Betty found out I was Anne Gallagher. I knew it was going to happen. I knew people would have that reaction "YOU'RE a WRITER. You wrote that." See, I don't look like a writer, not that I know what a writer is supposed to look like. (We always joke on the blogs that a writer is the one with a coffee cup in one hand, a red pen in the other, wearing yoga pants and a baggy shirt.)

Well, I don't have yoga pants, sweat pants, or pajama pants, but I do have gardening clothes. And firewood clothes, and housecleaning clothes. I have two pair of work-boots, a couple of pair of colorful sneakers, and lots and lots of shorts and stained t-shirts. (It seems I've been painting the rooms in my house every weekend for the last year and a half.)

What's also all too true, is that my closet is filled with clothes from ten and twenty years ago -- way before my daughter was born, when I was working. At least I had the good taste to buy "classic"... one can never go wrong with several little black dresses. However, all those clothes are way too "dressy" to wear to school.

I need "office casual" but I have no idea what that means. And if I did know what it means, I'm sure I'd need new shoes as well. (My shoes are outdated as well -- square toes, mary-janes, chunky heels). I guess I'm one of those women who always thinks those styles will come back around again and then I won't have to buy anything. However, we all know that doesn't happen all that often.

And this issue of what "a writer is supposed to look like" wouldn't have been on my mind at all except I saw a writer blog who showed pictures of a book signing and the author was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. She looked like she was going to a rock concert instead of reading and signing books. Uh, I didn't want to look like that.

I think I'll blame this issue on my mother. When I was a kid, I always had to dress nice if we were going out in public. "You never know who we might run into. I don't need you embarrassing me by looking like a slob. And change your underwear-- you never know, you may get hit by a bus."
(Though this was back in the 70's so it shows just how far back this has been stuck in my memories.)

Anyway, I think for the fall festival I'm going to wear my black skirt and white blouse with my black boots. Yes, I might look like a waitress, but you can never go wrong in black and white. As for traipsing around school, I don't know. I'm going to have to find some basic skirts and tops.

Maybe I'll be lucky and the "Laura Ashley" look will come back around. That was big in the 80s and my closet is full of flowery dresses. And I would be able to wear my Mary-Jane's again.

Tell me -- What do you wear to go out in public? Do you have a "go-to" outfit that you wear for every occasion? Can someone explain what "office casual" is?


Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stymied

I love that word. It's fun, isn't it. However the definition is what I'm dealing with at the moment.

 transitive verb \ˈstī-mē\
: to stop (someone) from doing something or to stop something) from happening
sty·mied sty·mie·ing
:  to present an obstacle to :  stand in the way of <stymied by red tape>
 
I have been presented an obstacle, something is standing in my way. I can't work on my books because I've over-extended myself once again. You know how it goes -- You say yes to something and then it snowballs into this mega-death-star type explosion and you vow you'll never say yes to anything ever again.

You see, I volunteered for a position at my daughter's school. When I signed up, I didn't really know what it would entail. However, now I'm four weeks into the school year and I've found that I'm the proud owner of a part-time job (30 hours a week) without pay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm doing it, and I'm sure once I get all of the previous year's business settled and into their proper accounts, my hours will be reduced by at least half. But for the present moment, I'm full out.

When you're a writer and "real life" gets crazy, something has to give. I don't want to give up what little precious time I DO have to write, so for the moment, I'm going to blog once a month. I can't give this up (because quite frankly I don't want to do a newsletter.) I think for my regular readers, this is the best scenario for me at the moment. I hope you'll stick around.

*****

And just to keep you updated in what I've done lately...

I received the final critiques from the teachers for WHEN SUCH FRIENDS ARE MET. I'll be working on the formatting for the paperback version. Things are moving along for the book signing
October 18, and planning on the big reveal at the school for October 1.

I'm up to Chapter 3 on THE LADY'S SECRET, one of the prequels to THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. This story is about the eldest sister, Ariana and her feelings for Stephen Summerville, her little sister's fiancé. I really like how it's coming along, and I've found a killer cliff-hanger ending. I also have the most fantastic picture for the cover and when I reveal it, you'll probably gasp. (I've gotten really superstitious about showing my covers before the books are finished so you'll have to wait. Sorry.)

I'm also up to Chapter 3 on THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. Richard and Amanda's story for The Reluctant Grooms. This is the last book that I need to finish to bring the series in complete order. I hated to release the series out of order, but as I was writing the books, I had made so many changes to the overall series arc, it seemed prudent to rewrite the earlier books to make them fit. Hence, Richard's is the last story.

LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING has been put on the back burner for the nonce. I have the outline and several chapters finished. Hers is not a story that will take me long to write because it pretty much happens over the course of a few days. Bam Bam Bam. This is also a prequel to SEDUCTION. You will be able to read SEDUCTION without the prequels, however, the prequels will give you a better understanding of what's going on behind the scenes of the major players. This will also have a cliff-hanger ending which will be revealed in SEDUCTION.

I don't know what's gotten into me with cliff-hanger endings, but I think with these two stories, they'll work.


And so, that's where I am. I'll post again sometime in October, maybe twice if I have something interesting to say. I hate to bore you.

Have a great week! I'll see you when I do.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Intimate Portrait -- Fiona Stewart

Fiona has always been one of my favorite heroines. Due to her father's machinations, she is forced into marriage with Robert. And believe me, Robert is not the easiest man to get along with.

Fiona lost her mother in a freak riding accident and Fiona's father, the Laird Stewart, has always blamed her. The guilt Fiona carries is overwhelming at times. Her lot in life is to take care of her father. She has no friends, no hope for marriage with a member of her own clan, nothing to look forward to.

When Robert shows up at Castle Cornann to discuss farm and sheep interests with her father, she admits she admires his mind, Robert is a brilliant businessman after all. But he's standoffish, pompous, callous, has no feelings. He also has a problem holding his liquor and when the Laird Stewart sets Robert and Fiona up to entrap them, the only outcome is marriage.


Fiona is not happy, Robert is irate, and there is nothing they can do to get out of it. Divorce was just not an option. (Well, it was, but it was expensive and highly scandalous.) Robert cannot do that to his family. Robert comes up with a plan for annulment, but that doesn't go the way he plans either. Fiona and Robert are stuck with each other for six months.

Robert places restrictions on Fiona when they arrive in London, and she's unsure what will become of her. He doesn't want her out in public. Even though she's an Earl's daughter and perfectly acceptable as a bride, Robert thinks she's too backward.

Fiona is welcomed to the family by Robert's mother, and when she's told they are to separate, Lady Joanna takes Fiona under her wing and prompts Fiona to fight for her husband. Unfortunately, Fiona finds herself mired in scandal after scandal. Naturally, it's not her fault, just the circumstances, and Fiona finds that Robert is not the man she thought him to be. He can be kind when he wants to be and Fiona begins to fall in love with him.

Fiona finds a friend in the Earl of Greenleigh, and Robert is jealous though, his jealousy is unfounded. However, that bit of emotion allows Robert to finally express his real feelings for Fiona.
Everyone is happy for a change, but that is short lived when Robert's ex-fiancé shows up out of the blue and wants Robert back.

Fiona does the only thing she can under the circumstances. She leaves him.

In writing this plot line, I took that saying "when you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours, if it doesn't, then it wasn't". Or something like that. But you know what I mean. I wanted to show Fiona in charge of her own life because for most of it, she was under the thumb of her father, and then Robert. She needed to find her own independence, her own soul, if you will.

Although this book is not one of my best sellers, I received the highest compliment from a reviewer. She said it made her cry. And truthfully, that is how I rate my books. If they make me cry as I'm writing them, I know I've done a good job.

Tell me -- Have you read THE DUKE'S DIVORCE? Did it make you cry? How do you judge a good book?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creating a Plot -- Basic Steps

There are many ways an author may come up with a plot line. Overheard conversations, an article in the newspaper, gossip, a song on the radio. And then, once the idea of something starts brewing, we always ask the question -- What if?

What if my heroine does this?
And my hero did that?
And the mother did this?
Which in turn would lead the heroine to do that?

We question every little thing, like playing chess. If I move here, what will my opponent do?

The problem is, most of us, (Well I say most of us who are pantsters -- writers who don't outline) may get stuck every once in awhile. We think we know where the story is going, but then one little tiny thing (which we may have simply overlooked because we're writing 90 mph to get the story down) may blow the whole thing out of the water.

(Which is why I don't outline the "whole" story. I find the rigidity of sticking to an outline stems my creativity.)

In creating any kind of "genre" story, we need to have several ducks in our design. They don't necessarily need to be in a row, but they do need to be there. You want to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where, and why.

Inciting incident (the thing you need to have a story to begin with)
Conflict
Hero's journey (or heroine if you prefer)
Goal

(You also need other building blocks such as Setting, Characters, Minor Characters, Sub-plot, but we're just discussing Plot right now.)

I tend to write the first four or five chapters off the cuff, allowing the characters to take control and lead me wherever they want to go. I have a simple idea of a plot and I edit as I write so hopefully by the time I get to the end of those first five chapters I have a pretty firm commitment to those words.

Then I'll sit down and play the "what if" game. I'll write a semi-formal outline (Suit and jacket, not tux -- nothing is firm until final edits) and continue writing. Generally, between the 50,000 and 70,000 word mark, I'll do a major re-read/edit, and then write another outline, (tuxedo this time) taking every plot point and character, piece of back-story, and write those in three columns to see where everyone is, what they're doing, and how I think the story is progressing. Once I do that, then I figure out how I want the story to end.

Someone much smarter than I (I forget who) said "you have to have the ending before you write the beginning." Which I believe is true. I don't work backwards, however, I always have the ending in mind when I start writing the beginning.

As always, there is a happy ending, but hopefully, by the aforementioned word counts, I've left doubt in the readers' mind as to how the Hero/Heroine is going to get there. It's kind of a fun game I play with myself. Like solitaire, only better.

Because I'm working on Amanda and Richard's story now, I'll use them as an example. My basic outline and plot points.

Richard ~
Richard has suffered from PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) since the Battle at Trafalgar.
He has lost hope (put it completely from his mind) that he will ever marry.
He earns a decent living doing "detective work" (if you will), and has a few friends. Most notably William.





Amanda ~
Amanda grew up in England and was friends with Penny when she was a girl.
Her mother died when she was 12 and her father took her to America.
Amanda has the "gift" of being empathic. (Like the character Diana Troy from Star Trek.)
Amanda has married a despicable man (for reasons I won't get into here).
They have a daughter Rachel (age 6).

Basic Plot

Chapter One -- Richard and Amanda meet one night. (inciting incident) There is an instant attraction. Richard thinks he knows Amanda but can't figure out from where. He realizes she's married to a despicable man. (conflict) He needs an excuse to find her again. (goal) Some of Richard's back story.

Chapter Two -- I need Richard to somehow find Amanda again. Enter Robert who needs a ship's captain. Robert's plan is for Richard to go to where Amanda is. (hero's journey)

Chapter Three -- Richard and William meet up again. Richard finds out Penny knows Amanda. Penny finds out Richard is going to where Amanda is, and asks him to bring her something (A letter most likely.) (Re-introducing the inciting incident, and the goal, and reaffirming the hero's journey.)

Chapter Four -- Amanda's back-story. (This chapter has already been written, but now I find I need to tweak it a little bit to fit better into the changes I've already made. Introducing Amanda's conflict and goal. This is a sub-plot.)

Chapter Five -- Richard and Amanda meet again. (Reintroducing the main conflict -- Amanda's husband and giving the first climax resolution.)

Now, having said all that, in writing genre fiction, you also need to find the structure of the novel -- there are several to choose from -- the most basic and almost always used is three acts.

Act One is where we are introduced to the characters and give them their inciting incidents, conflicts, goals, and send them on their journeys. We also need to have a climax -- generally at the end of Act One, where all these preliminary things are resolved. Also the introduction of sub-plots if you're going to use them.

Act Two is where the tension mounts, because even though we have resolved some of the conflicts, there are more obstacles to get over before the end of the book. We must put our hero/heroine through much more before they can reach their goal. (Sometimes in working with sub-plots, we can have other climaxes.)

Act Three is when the hero/heroine has the goal firmly in hand, however, one more monkey wrench is thrown their way and they must fight for their ultimate goal. In romance, that is when the hero and heroine finally get together. All the conflicts have been resolved, there is generally one final massive climax, and everyone lives happily ever after. (That particular part of the story is called the denouement.)

 So there we are -- the basic building blocks of writing a story. There are many many fabulous craft books on the market to delve deeper into how to write, but this is just a simple explanation.

Anything I've forgotten? Please share in the comments.

I hope you have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

When Such Friends Were Met is Released

Well, here we are. This book was added to my "buy" page on Amazon last night at 10:30. I'm afraid it's going to take a little bit longer for other vendors, but don't fret, it will only be a few weeks.

(Not because I can't do it right now, but we're doing another fund raiser at the school and the "big" reveal will be October 1 when the paperback comes out.)

And yes, for this novella there will be a paperback version. This is going to be the focus for the fund raising event. And I get to do my first book signing. Yay!

And I just want to reiterate, this story is NOT my typical Regency romance. I wrote it for the winners for a prize I donated at the school so there is a lot of historical context, and more about the teachers whom I wrote it for than an actual romance.


Cover copy --            

              Dianne Lessard survived France’s Reign of Terror, years without her parents, and the security of a permanent home. In the summer of 1809, she needed a job. Her position as governess was at an end. Her luck seemed heaven sent when she read the ad in the Ladies Gazette requiring a French teacher for a private school. After securing two interviews, she not only had a job, but a new home.
            However, Dianne’s happiness is short-lived when her teaching methods go awry and the headmistress, Mrs. Heaton, is not pleased. Can Dianne rise above her failures and conquer Mrs. Heaton’s disappointment?
            A handsome Captain on leave from his duties fighting Napoleon’s forces, surprises Dianne with a simple question, and forces her to rethink her once fierce independence for a chance at marriage and family. But then, the Captain is sent back to sea, and Dianne wrestles with her guilt for never answering his query.

            Dianne’s faith is sorely tested at every turn, but it is the only thing that remains constant in her topsy-turvy world. Will it desert her when she needs it the most? 


If you should buy it, I would be ever so grateful if you could leave a review either at Amazon or Goodreads.
Thanks.

Hope you have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When the Story Isn't Working

Writing is hard work. That's a given. And if any of you think that all we have to do is just sit down at our computers and words magically spill from our imagination, well, sorry to say you're wrong. Okay, maybe they do come magically, but then we have to take those words and revise, edit, sometimes even delete them to get the best finished product we can.

My Intimate Portrait for this coming Sunday was going to be Richard Gaines. He's been a minor character in a few of my novels. His novel THE CAPTAIN'S LADY was actually the second one I wrote, to publish after THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. Only those were side tracked to write different things. As I learned the craft of writing a GOOD novel, I realized Masquerade and Captain's Lady were not ready for publication -- AT ALL. Not until I'd done some major rewriting.

Last year, throughout the year, I took on the task of diving in to MASQUERADE to revise and edit. There was a lot of work to do. I wrote this book in 2007. Five years, three novels, and four novellas later, it did not hold up. The plot was convoluted, the characters had changed drastically. I was also foreshadowing events for the last book of the series, so I needed to make serious changes.

As any good writer knows, you need to let a finished product sit for awhile. You basically need to be able to forget what you wrote so you can look at it with "fresh eyes". Which is why the revisions for Masquerade took almost a whole year. With each major change, I needed to let it sit again.

But now I have the challenge of doing the same thing for THE CAPTAIN'S LADY. I decided to scrap the original novel. Totally. I began writing a whole new book the other day. I wrote two whole chapters. And I realized that storyline wouldn't work either. Neither would my "new" Amanda. I didn't like her attitude. So I went back to the original story, which I've always loved.

However, although the plot remains basically the same, the setting is going to be different. I never did the research required when I wrote this book way back when. Now that I have done so, I found Richard cannot go to America to save Amanda. England was right on the cusp of the War of 1812 with America. For Richard to go would be a complete nightmare to figure out how to get him there and get out. Historical accuracy and all that.

So I've changed the storyline a little bit. I'm hoping it works. The original setting was in Boston. This new setting is in Manchester, England. And perhaps a little teeny bit of America. I'm not sure. Truthfully, the biggest problem I have is if I change the story completely, I'll have to change the cover copy in all the previously published books. And that, my dear readers, is a horror show. I'm just not up to the task.

And maybe you're wondering why I just don't scrap this project all together. If Richard is such a minor character, why bother writing him at all. Well, because he's been with me from the beginning. As well as William and Robert. Their stories have been told, so I think I owe it to Richard to tell his.

It may take me a little while longer to get this finished (depending on  how much I can save from the original manuscript -- which at this point I'm thinking not much) but I know how the story starts, where it goes, and how it ends. Hopefully, I can have it ready by Thanksgiving.

That being said, I've torn my rotator cuff again, so I'm not sure how or if I'll really be able to write. I went to the doctor yesterday and now have several other appointments with several other doctors, MRI machines and CAT scans so we'll see how it plays out.

 I may not be posting for awhile depending on what happens. I hope you all have a great week.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The "School Project Story" is Finished

Well, I've been waiting to post this since I started the book, lol, and now here it is.




Here's the cover. Didn't my designer do a fantastic job? The portraits are from the collection of William-Adolph Bouguereau.

The title is an adapted line from Sense and Sensibility (movie version -- screenplay by Emma Thompson -- when Maryanne meets Edward while they're in London and she says, "What was that when there were such friends to be met.") I think the title conveys the story quite nicely.

And the cover copy --

        This story was written for the winners of a prize “Be a Character in a Story” I donated for a fund raising event at my daughter’s school. It is not part of my Regency romance series The Reluctant Grooms. Although, there is a small romance in it, this novella encompasses the lives of two women teachers in how they view the world and their students in 1809.
            Dianne Lessard survived France’s Reign of Terror, years without her parents, and the security of a permanent home. In the summer of 1809, she needed a job. Her position as governess was at an end. Dianne's luck seemed heaven sent when she read the ad in the Ladies Gazette requiring a French teacher for a private school. After securing two interviews, she not only had a job, but a new home.
          However, Dianne’s happiness is short-lived when her teaching methods go awry and the headmistress, Mrs. Heaton, is not pleased. Can Dianne rise above her failures and conquer Mrs. Heaton’s disappointment?
            A handsome Captain on leave from his duties fighting Napoleon’s forces, surprises Dianne with a simple question, and forces her to rethink her once fierce independence for a chance at marriage and family. But then, the Captain is sent back to sea, and Dianne wrestles with her guilt for never answering his query.
            Dianne’s faith is sorely tested at every turn, but it is the only thing that remains constant in her topsy-turvy world. Will it desert her when she needs it the most? 


I know it's not my usual copy, but then it's not my usual book. It's with my critique partner at present, hoping to get it back this week, and then I'll start my edits and revisions. Then it's off to the ladies who I wrote it for for their notes, another round of edits and revisions, and hopefully by the middle of September I'll have it ready to go. 

There's been some talk of only doing a paperback version (as it is a "school" project) but we'll see. I'd like to release it in e-version as well. But I'm not sure about that. (I have to talk to the powers that be at the school.)

I will be doing a book signing (my first) on October 18 from 4-8pm at the Fall Festival at the school in Winston-Salem. Just in case you'd like to stop by. lol. The ladies I wrote the book for will join me for the signing as well. (It's an annual event at the school, kind of like a giant Halloween party but not. Games and bouncy things for the kids, haunted hallways, face painting, etc.)

So, there it is. What I thought had taken months to write, only did actually take a few weeks. And I  finished before the first day of school, so I'm inordinately pleased. I'll let you know when it's released.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll see you next week.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Newest Book I'm Working On

Ariana
So, I've been working on another book. THE LADY'S SECRET is a prequel to THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. In this little tome, ( a novella) we meet Ariana Leighton, daughter of the Duke of Hargrave. As everyone is related to everyone else in the ton, Ariana's father is the nephew to Lady Olivia's late husband Fitzhugh, therefore making Ariana and her little sister Arabella second cousins to Penny. Or something like that. I have the family tree but too lazy to look it up. Suffice it to say, they're all related.



Stephen

Ariana and her family have been in America for the last year. Her father meets Stephen Summerville, the protege of a famous shipbuilder who wants to start his own company, and so more or less that's how we meet Stephen. When Ariana first lays eyes on him, she falls head over heels. BAM! But when Stephen meets Bella, BAM! and poor Ariana is left heartbroken.



Bella
Ariana is beautiful, gracious, all that is charming, demur, and accomplished. If it wasn't for her limp (caused by a riding accident when she was 12) she'd have her pick of suitors and would have probably been married off by now.  But because of her countenance, she appears cold and distant (brought on by years of taunts from cruel and thoughtless people about her limp). But she's not, she's really very nice, and very sweet. She's also very shy and keeps a stiff upper lip when meeting new people.

Stephen has been the only man who has accepted her for who she is. But Stephen belongs to Bella, so Ariana suffers in silence.


I'm really enjoying writing this. It's a love triangle, confounded by the secret that's going to come out in THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. And then EVERYONE is going into a giant emotional upheaval.

Fun stuff, and I'm excited I'm bringing this series to its end. Not that I'm excited it's coming to a close, I love my characters, but it's exciting to think that I wrote a whole series of books and finished them. (Some people didn't believe I could do it.)

Anyway, here's a little excerpt (first draft so don't mind the mistakes), and more pictures. From Chapter Two...

*****


The crowded pier overwhelmed Ariana, with passengers milling about, and stewards and midshipmen pushing huge loads of cargo across the docks. Ariana stood by the luggage. Her leg remained stiff and walking on the uneven surface of the boatyard caused her great hardship. She refused to carry her cane. She didn’t want to appear as an invalid. It only caused piteous looks. Once she was on board, she could settle in and release the pressure.
            “Ariana, dearest, are you all right?” her mother asked.
            “My leg, Mama. Standing for so long last night has cramped it again. I shall be better once we are on board.” Ariana wanted to rub the spot on her thigh to relieve the tension.
            “Perhaps we could find you a chair.” Her mother looked around the bustling wharf.
            “No, Mama. Even if one could be found, I would only be in the way.” As if to clarify her statement, a huge man carrying two barrels across his shoulders bumped into their trunks.
            “Sorry, misses,” he growled.
            “Well, where has your father gone this time? I declare he likes nothing more than to disappear on us
Lady Constance Leighton,
Duchess of Hargrave
when we need him the most.” Constance Leighton looked around the busy port and wrinkled her nose. “Why can we not board the ship and be away from all this….” She waved her hand. “I wish for nothing more than a cold compress and a cup of tea.”
            “I’m sure he must be doing something important, Mama. He would never leave us in this situation if he did not have to.” Ariana looked toward the shipping office. Stephen walked toward them, a wide smile etched across his handsome face.
            “Your Grace, Ariana,” he said. “How do you do? A beautiful day to start our journey, do you not think?”
            “Yes, very beautiful,” Ariana said. She drank in his smile.
            “Have you seen my husband, Stephen? He has left us here to rot in the sun like some discarded carcass.” Her mother snapped her fan open and waved it rapidly under her huge hat.
            “Bella has persuaded him to buy ices,” he said.
            “Ices? We shall hardly have a care to enjoy them here.” She looked at Ariana. “What is your sister thinking?” She looked at Stephen. “Do you know when we shall be allowed to board? I vow I cannot stand here one more second.”
            “A few more minutes, I assure you, Lady Hargrave. I spoke with the purser myself just moments ago. They are only waiting for the last of the foodstuffs to be brought on board.”
            “Well,” Ariana’s mother huffed. “They allow the animals on board before the people. I’ve never heard of such a thing. In England, they allowed us to board as soon as we arrived. I hope you will do your best to remember that when you have your own vessels, Stephen.”
            He winked at Ariana. “Yes, Mum.”
            “Mama.” Ariana placed her hand on her mother’s arm. “Do not be cross with Stephen. It is certainly not his fault we are not allowed to board.”
            Constance sighed. “Forgive me, Stephen, for being such a bear. Ariana’s leg pains her and I wish to see her settled before it gives way completely.”
            Stephen picked up Ariana’s hand. “Shall I find you a chair?”
            “No, thank you. I would only be in the way.” Ariana tingled from his touch.
            “Oh, look, here they come now,” her mother said.
            The Duke of Hargrave strode across the pier. Bella chased after his long strides, her parasol flopping
Reginald Leighton,
Duke of Hargrave
over her shoulder.
            “Forgive me, my dear,” he said to his wife. “I did not mean to leave you so long. Bella wished for ices before departure, but it was a fool’s errand.” He shot Bella a caustic glance. He turned to Ariana. “How are you feeling, dearest? I am assured it is only moments before we board.”
            Ariana smiled at her father. Since the accident a decade before, he had always looked to her comfort first. “I am well, Father. A few minutes more will surely not do me any more harm.”
            “Stephen,” Bella said. “Take me to the dock. I wish to look at the water.”
            Stephen gave her his arm and they walked away.
            “I do not know what that girl is playing at, Constance. When we met Stephen in the shipping office, she barely acknowledged his presence. Now she wishes him to walk her to the water. I do not understand.”
            Her mother patted his arm. “Ariana’s leg pains her.”
            And that was all she needed to say.
            Since the accident, Bella’s jealousy over her parents’ solicitude where Ariana was concerned was a sore spot. And Ariana knew it, which is why when her leg did hurt, she never spoke of it. However, as her tell tale limp became more prominent, her parents grew more concerned.
            A midshipman walked over to them. “Your Grace, my name is Tuttle. I shall take your luggage now.”
            “When will be allowed to board? My daughter needs to rest,” her father said.
            A bell pealed from the deck.
            “At last,” her mother sighed. “Come dearest, take my arm.”
            As Ariana reached for her mother’s arm, the midshipman pulled a portmanteau off the top of the pile, which bumped into another trunk and it crashed into Ariana, who fell to the ground. Tears sprang from her eyes. Her leg felt as if it had been shattered all over again.
            “Ariana!” Her father knelt at her side. “Dearest, are you all right? No, of course not.” He glared at Tuttle, who could not apologize enough.
            “Forgive me, your ladyship. I am so very sorry.”
            “I will have your job for your ineptitude,” her father yelled.
            “Father, please,” Ariana said. “It was an accident. Please just help me up.”
            Stephen ran over. “Ariana, what happened?”
            Her father straightened. “This fool hit her with a bag and she fell.”
            “Come.” Stephen knelt on the ground. “Wrap your arms about my neck. I shall carry you on board.”
            “No,” Ariana whispered. “I am well enough to walk.” She was sure being in his arms would cause her to faint, and that was something she did not wish to do.
            “Nonsense, Ariana,” her father said. “Do as he tells you. Look at the throng. You will never get on board without another injury.”
            Stephen wrapped his arms under her and lifted her easily. Ariana closed her eyes as she laid her hands around his neck.
            “Come then, let us get you on board,” her father said. “I shall find the ship’s doctor to take a look at you.” He proffered his arm to his wife.
            Bella pouted as she walked behind them.
            Walking up the gangplank, Stephen asked, “How do you feel? Am I causing you any more pain?”
            Ariana couldn’t feel anything. Her heart stuck in her throat. To have Stephen’s arms around her was heavenly. “No,” she managed to squeak out. “I…I thank you.”
            Jostled from behind, Stephen glanced over his shoulder. “Have a care, would you? The lady is injured.”
            Ariana felt flames burning her face. Once on the deck she said, “You may put me down now.”
            “Ariana I have no wish to cause you further injury. Let us find your stateroom first.”
            “No!” she said. “Please, Stephen, put me down. I am all right now.”
            He walked to the rear of the boat and lowered her to the deck. “Are you sure?”

            “Yes, thank you.” Ariana reached for the railing to steady herself. I am well now.” Her fluttering heart beat through her chest. 


*****

So, that's it so far. Hopefully, it won't take me too long to finish this. As I said, it's a prequel, and a novella, and just so you know, there won't be any kind of definitive ending in it. This novella, and LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING both stop on the night of the Twelfth Night Ball. And then SEDUCTION takes over from there.

Have a happy week. I'll see you next Sunday.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013



Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm on Pinterest, Pricing Changes, and Other News

I've been meaning to mention this for sometime now and keep forgetting. I recently changed all the pricing on my paperback versions from $14.99 to $12.99 with the exception of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE which is now $10.99.

I've also brought the price down on the e-versions of A
ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION to $1.99. Four novellas for the price of two.






And I also brought down the price of THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT to $2.99. So I hope if you haven't read it yet, you will.

I've also finally put this into paperback.







If you didn't know this, and I'm sure you didn't because I've only mentioned it once in a teeny tiny little aside at the bottom of a post, I'm on Pinterest. I have all my books there, with pictures of my characters, or rather, who I'd like to think they are.

I recently added LADY CADORET'S LONGING (something I've been meaning to do for awhile and just haven't been able to get to it. It took me awhile to find the right pictures of Edward and Daniel.

And I found some pictures of houses where I think my characters might live so I added those to my boards as well.

I'm in the process of making boards for the other books that will (hopefully) be coming out this fall. (see below)

You can find me on Pinterest here 

(If the link is broken, it's http://www.pinterest.com/RegencyAnne)


In other news, I've also started on THE LADY'S SECRET, a prequel to THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. Falling asleep one night, I thought of the most fabulous opening lines and jumped out of bed to write them down. When I transposed them into my file on the computer, I felt compelled to keep writing. The word count is not very high, but it is a start.

I've also begun another novella, LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, another prequel to THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. This one deals exclusively from Lady Olivia's viewpoint. And I believe this novella will make a few readers go hmmmm.... I love Lady Olivia and knowing she carries a great secret, I've been wanting to spill it for some time. In this little tome, you find out what it is, and as Lady Olivia's world falls apart, you get to see how she does or does not cope.

I would like to say the Not So Secret Story Project is done, but it's not. Not too much longer now to go and I do need to have it done by the 22 so I'm working day and night to finish it up. Then it's off to the critique partners and beta readers for consideration, then we revise and hopefully format for publication. Soon, very soon.

And then I will be working on THE CAPTAIN'S LADY, book two of The Reluctant Grooms series. This book has been sitting on my hard drive for almost 8 years and in such a state of disrepair, it's much like the first version of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. I need to really get in there and revise it. Hopefully, that won't take too long. I'm hoping by Thanksgiving.

And then we're onto the final books in the series and will hopefully wrap this up in the Spring of 2014.

After that, I have another series planned. I think. I'm working on the outline now. But I'm not really looking into that for some time. Maybe after next summer.

So, I hope you'll stick around for the next little while. Things will be happening.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Intimate Portrait -- Lady Olivia

Over the course of my years writing, I find myself working on two or three stories at a time. This gives my brain a break from the tedious details one may find oneself enmeshed in in a particular plot. While working on the Not So Secret Story Project, Lady Olivia burst into my subconscious and wouldn't leave me alone. I've had her story in the back of my head for awhile now, thinking I would get to it when I finished what I'm working on now.

But she wouldn't let go and so I decided to sit down and write the opening paragraphs. Well, the opening paragraphs turned into three chapters. So I sit here with almost 7,000 words of her novella and itching to finish it. The reason, I believe, she was so insistent in the first place was that I needed to find a picture for her cover. Which meant I needed to find a picture of her.

Lady Olivia #1
Oh, I had a picture of Lady Olivia when I first started writing my stories. She was a sweet little old lady who had nothing better to do than play matchmaker for friends. But as the stories evolved, she became much sharper in my mind. I also needed to do a genealogical tree to figure out just who she was related to. As a member of the Aristocracy, everyone is eventually related to everyone else. And if that is so, then she isn't as old as I portrayed her to be.



Lady Olivia #2
So, I found this Lady Olivia. She fit the part a little better. She's a little bit younger, a little bit prettier, and I know her character from watching period dramas on the BBC. She also played Mrs. Bennett in Sense and Sensibility, so there is that. However, as much as I liked her for Lady Olivia, there was something missing. And I figured out what it was as I started writing her story. She's not sexy enough.



John Quiggins
Not that a sweet little old lady can't be sexy, but she's got to play alongside Quiggins. I had always intended for Lady Olivia and Quiggins to fall in love, as a secret backdrop to everything else that's going on in my little Regency world. And as I found Quiggins very early on, I thought him the best possible Quiggins there could be. Yes, I love Quiggins. He's the strong silent type, and very capable of making women swoon. He's also gentle, kind, and has a few secrets of his own.



Lady Olivia #1 was certainly too old. Lady Olivia #2, was the right age, but I found as I was writing this story, she's just not sexy enough. I wanted someone who could pass off the aristocratic air, yet remain a woman. Judi Dench and Helen Mirren could pass muster, but they're not soft enough for me. I needed Lady Olivia to have that touch of vulnerability, yet be tough enough to fight with the men. And I finally found her.
Lady Olivia #3 we have a winner

I think she is the perfect embodiment of Lady Olivia, heart and soul. Vulnerable, soft, sexy, yet with that face full of character. And if I do say so myself, I think she and Quiggins make a perfect match.

Lady Olivia is hands down my favorite character that I've ever written. She's tough when she needs to be, but gentle as well. She believes in doing what's right, even when it's wrong. She likes to meddle in other people's affairs, especially when it comes to love.

Having had her first husband die on her, she spent ten years of her life alone (until she met Quiggins). And during that time, she was a wreck. Sure she had her charities, what rich woman didn't. She had her friends, she had her garden. But until she met Quiggins, she didn't have love. When he appeared, it was as if a light was turned on inside her and wouldn't turn off. If she was going to be in love, then everyone else should be as well.

However, in this new story I'm writing about her, I get to tell her secret. Her one very big, very ugly secret, that if it ever came out, her whole world would be upside down and she would be cast out of Society. Oh yes, my friends, cast out. Because what Olivia did was so nasty, so heinous, so disgustingly out of character for her, people will be shocked. Shocked I tell you.

This little novella also ties up a few loose ends that have been straggling around from my other books. A few reviewers had qualms about what happens after the books end, so I decided to tie everything up in a nice neat bow before we get to the final novel in the series.

 THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE.

Yes, we get to know Lady Olivia's secret beforehand, but what follows in TSoMS is how it all plays out. I think it's going to be a fine ending to a very satisfying series. Well, at least I hope so.

Don't worry, Lady Olivia will certainly get her comeuppance, and Society will be shocked indeed, and I am purposely going to make you wait until the very last page to let you find out what happens to her, but just remember, I'm a romance writer. Everyone gets a happy ending.

So, what do you think of my new Lady Olivia?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013