Sunday, August 8, 2021

Pride, Prejudice, and Prudence

 **As a reader, we all know what happens when you open a book and hate the main character -- you throw the book across the room and stop reading. But what do you do as a writer?

After Henry Wade made his appearance in The Reluctant Grooms series, and I met his nieces, I thought they were all very lovely, and it would be a breeze to share their stories.

My mother's illness aside, (finding time to write was another thing altogether) I wrote the first three stories (Henry REGRETS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Faith DUNBURY PARK and Hope WHEN HOPE AND PASSION COLLIDE) and follwing the series arc, began formulating the idea for Prudence. I knew from the beginning she would be a hard character to write because -- I didn't like her.
Prudence Shaffer

Prudence is a spoiled rotten brat with no compassion or empathy for anyone other than herself. She is cruel and contemptible and even her cousins are afraid of her wicked tongue. Hence the title, JUDGING PRUDENCE. I thought it apt because everyone judged her, including me.

I knew she had to have some redeeming qualities, however, I couldn't see them. She was a mean little witch and just wanted everything her way.

 Writing her story every day was like pulling teeth. I despised her and just didn't think she deserved a happy ending.

However, as part of Henry Wade's family, how could I do that? As a writer of romance, how could I not let her find her HEA? As a reader, if I left her out of the series, that would mean I would have to rewrite all the other books, and that was not going to happen.

Characters, like people, generally have a secret they try to hide from the world. It may be
Alexander Lowell,
Viscount Abernathy

big or small, but most often, they don't want anyone to know about it. Well, I finally found Prudence's and it's a whopper. It explains why she is the way she is.

Once I realized what she was hiding, the story seemed to improve, the flow seemed much better, the intrigue and plot line worked, and I was a happy little writer once more.

Does Prudence get her Happily Ever After? I'm not sure. I'm not finished writing yet, but what I do know is that she will have to change her ways if she wants to get what she deserves. And this will be the fun part of writing her story -- her comeuppance.

I'm hoping to have the story finished by Thanksgiving, but I said that last year too. Let's hope things work out a little bit better this time around.

**The previous was a post I wrote in September 2018.

I have finally finished Prudence's story. I did not work on that book again until February 2021.Two and a half years. I finished it in April of this year. Then I had to let it sit for another month so I could edit it again. But now it is out and published. 
I also changed the title from JUDGING PRUDENCE to PRIDE, PREJUDICE, and PRUDENCE. I thought it was a better title after watching the original on TV one night.

For those of you who still follow this blog or my writing, I'm pleased to announce that the next book in the series CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME is also ready to be released. I need to do a final edit, but that shouldn't take long. Promise.

On a personal note, the last few years have been a struggle, dealing with my parents' health issues, and having a sports fanatic for a child. Unfortunately, within the limited amount of time per day I was given, something else had to go and that was my writing. 

I believe now that I am in a somewhat better state of mind, and the child is in high school, the writing has become easier, and I would like to think I can finish the Dunbury series in a timely manner.

With Patience, Mercy, and Lady Catherine to go, I woud like to say by the end of 2022. Then again, perhaps I shouldn't give myself time limits.

Thanks for reading!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2021 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Dunbury Park #MarchMadnessSale

Dunbury Park
$2.99 thru March 31

Lady Faith Curtiss, daughter of the late Duke of Trowbridge, understands the responsibility of a title. However, it doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. Impoverished since her mother’s death, she and her sisters have come to live with their other cousins, all of them orphans and dependent upon their uncle, Henry Wade, the Marquess of Dunbury, whose only aim is to marry them off as quickly as possible.

When Faith meets the new curate of the parish, her heart is seized. Peter Williams is all that is good and kind in a man. He is also brilliant, handsome, and has made it known he is waiting until her eighteenth birthday to ask for her hand.

However, her uncle is looking in another direction for Faith—the Earl-next-door—who is amenable to the idea of marrying into the Marquisate. Faith rejects the idea of taking her rightful place in Society, just for propriety’s sake, but the Earl is nearly perfect.

While Faith vacillates on the Earl’s proposal, it seems the new housekeeper at the parsonage also has her eye on the new curate. With Faith's title the only thing standing in the way of true love, Faith is torn between marrying for the money, or fighting for her heart’s desire. 

Dunbury Park is the second book in the Ladies of Dunbury Series. Faith is the second eldest to be married first. (Mercy is waiting for James Stone, Henry's aide de camp, to return from the Peninsula. However long it takes.) However, there's a long road ahead for Faith before she can get married.

Lady Faith Curtiss
I liked Faith. She was a
"good" character. No hidden agenda. She pretty much spilled it right from the get-go. Since the day she met Peter Williams, curate of the parish, she wanted to marry him. Unfortunately, since the first day she had met the Earl of Helmsway, he has wanted to marry her. Although rebuffed, Helmsway convinces Henry Wade to give him another chance. Perhaps he could change her mind.

Rev. Peter Williams
Brian Thorpe,
Earl of Helmsway
Peter has waited nearly a year to speak with Lady Gantry about Faith. Unfortunately for Peter, Henry Wade, Faith's formidable uncle has come home from the wars. When Peter finally speaks with her uncle about Faith, Henry will give his blessing to whichever man Faith decides to choose at the end of the summer.

Faith has to take a good long hard look at both men, where she fits into their future, and what kind of future she envisions for herself--to be part of Society, or be part of the other side of Society.

Rebecca Taylor
Rules are broken, hearts are broken. But then Faith thwarts a kidnapping and evil is discovered in the Park's woods. When Rebecca Taylor, (housekeeper for the parsonage and the Bishop's choice for Peter's wife), is mistaken for a Dunbury Lady and found brutally beaten and left for dead, Faith finally realizes what love truly means.

The Parsonage at St. Michael's
I realize this is another triangle trope, but I like them. And this isn't so much a triangle as it is an inner struggle to discover what one TRULY wants--WHO one truly wants to spend the rest of their lives with. It's a big "idea" for the daughter of a duke. Can she really choose? What makes one man more worthy than another? Is it really all about the money and social standing? It's a tough question to answer.

Dunbury Park
I've also carried Henry's political intrigue and problematic illness through this book as well. It seems Henry is much like Lady Olivia in this series--always meddling where he shouldn't. He does have six nieces to marry off.

And there you have it. Faith's story as one of the Ladies of Dunbury.

On Sale Now
$2.99 thru March 31

#Shameless Promotion

Anne Gallagher (c) 2019

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Regrets and Responsibilities #MarchMadnessSale

Regrets and Responsibilities
$2.99 thru March 31

After nearly forty years in the Army, Henry Wade, the Marquess of Dunbury, finally returns to London to officially claim his father’s title, hopefully to reunite with his long lost love, and to exact revenge on the man who ruined his life. Add six orphaned nieces into the mix, and suddenly, Henry’s life is upside down. Marrying them off seems like a fine plan, but finding suitable husbands for them is an impossible task. 

They all wish to marry for love.

Regrets and Responsibilities is the first book in the Ladies of Dunbury series. I found Henry Wade when I was beginning to write LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING. I needed another love interest and lo and behold, Henry Wade popped into my head.
Lt. Col. Henry Wade,
Marquess of Dunbury
I knew Olivia needed someone like him to shake up her life. (Little did she know how badly the earthquake would hit.)

When Henry returns home from the wars, he is saddled with the responisibility of marrying off six nieces and has no idea what to do. 

Lady Catherine Gantry
Upon his arrival to his old home, he is greeted by a shrew of a woman who just so happens to be the girls' governess. He's thrown completely off guard because the woman looks exactly like the woman he left behind thirty-five years ago. That Catherine Gantry happens to be Olivia's cousin is another blow. Henry doesn't know what to do about his feelings for any of them, and to top it all off, he suffers from PTSD. (Only they didn't call it that then, but they did call it Soldier's Nerves.)

Lady Mercy Wade
I knew when I started writing the Ladies of Dunbury series, it was going to be a long road. Research, research, research. Thankfully, I had a slew of folders on my dashboard. And when I decided to add in characters from The Reluctant Grooms series, and give more backstory to questions about such things as Davingdale's past and Stephen Carlton's death, I had to dig back into my own stories, which has been a delightful surprise. They say write what you want to read. And well, I'm liking what I'm reading.

Lady Faith Curtiss
I also knew that "wrapping in" other characters from a previous series would be somewhat difficult. I had to get timelines right, and characters' names, not to mention horses (sometimes--yes, I named all the animals too.) But I wanted to write another layer, another dimension of family stories that made all these people who they were when I wrote them. Does that make sense? I figured I had to create a world, past-present-future, to give both of the series dimensionality. Especially if the readers had already read The Reluctant Grooms. They would be able to click with characters they already knew, and discover the new ones as well. 

Lady Charity Curtiss
Anyway, Henry is a complex man. He's been a soldier for all of his adult life, used to giving orders, bossing people around. Catherine is appalled at his manner and sets about softening him up. Unfortunately, she falls head over heels in love with a man, who is only looking at her because she looks like his lost love. Catherine is stoic, Catherine is serene, Catherine is screaming inside. She wants to love Henry, and he won't accept it. Not until the girls are married. It's killing her.

Lady Hope Curtiss
Henry, on the other hand, is fighting within himself as he falls in love with Catherine. She nurses him, gives him comfort, puts up with his fits and moods. The woman is perfect in almost every way--save the fact she looks exactly like the Olivia he thought he remembered. His mind understands Catherine is not Olivia. However, his heart cannot undo the memories of the past. 

They both have to learn a hard lesson before they can move forward.

Lady Patience Shaffer
Henry and Catherine are fun characters. They're easy to write because they bicker a lot. Writing this series has also given me the idea to write side-stories with only Catherine and Henry as characters, vignettes perhaps, of how they feel, what they're doing in their relationship as each of the girls find beaus, as their lives move forward. And how Henry must deal with his feelings about Olivia. (However, as much as I would love to tackle that project, I can't do it  now. Time is not on my side as I'm struggling with other writing-publishing goals, as well as spring projects in the house. But someday. And don't worry, I've been taking notes.)

Lady Prudence Shaffer
Confession: As I continued writing the girls' stories, when I came to Prudence, I became stuck. Life had thrown three fastballs I didn't see coming, and I had to put down the computer and step away. For a long time. Eighteen months. I'm back to it now, finally, but I had to make some tough decisions about my writing. One of them was that I couldn't write a full-lenth novel about a character I hated. Uranus entered Taurus on March 6 this year and believe it or not, I came up with a great idea of how to write the story without losing my mind. Took awhile, but I'm back on track.

Anyway, Regrets and Responsibilities is the first book in the Ladies of Dunbury series. 

On Sale Now 
thru March 31 


Anne Gallagher (c) 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

When All Hope Is Lost #MarchMadnessSale

When All Hope Is Lost
$2.99 thru March 31

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

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

The last book in the Reluctant Grooms Series. I loved writing this book. I loved how it twisted and turned and dropped me on my face. I loved the ending. Where I tied everything up in a nice little bow. But did I? (Which is where the Ladies of Dunbury starts, but that's another blog post.)
John Quiggins (before)

John Quiggins, if we remember, is an enigmatic character who was raised by Missionaries in the Far East. John can speak several languages, and worked for a General in the Army, before becoming a spy for the Foreign Ministry. Unfortunately, his cover was blown and he had to return to England, where he was hidden away as a "butler" at Wakefield-by-the-Sea, the Duke of Cantin's summer home. Everything was fine until he met Lady Olivia Leighton, Duchess of Caymore, the most powerful woman in England.

Lady Olivia Leighton,
Duchess of Caymore
When Lady Olivia meets John Quiggins, it's love at first sight for the old bird. Olivia understands her romance with John is particular, and temporary, but when they return to London, Olivia realizes she needs John more than she wanted to.

Lt. Col. Henry Wade,
Marquess of Dunbury

When Henry (Olivia's old flame) returns from the wars, Olivia wants him back, but he's in love with her cousin Catherine, (who, coincidentally, looks exactly like a younger version of Olivia.)

With the war still raging, John is suddenly called back to duty, and Henry is going with him, and theoretically, Olivia could lose both of the men she loves.

Lady Catherine Gantry

Talk about a love quadrangle.
I wanted everyone to have a happily-ever-after, but I also wanted enough tension to last through the next series.

I also found some great pics of what I think Seaford could be. I loved this place, I loved writing this part of the story.

Seaford rear garden
I cannot remember where this is, other than England. I loved this place.

I wanted Olivia to have peace and quiet to grieve her losses. I can't tell you how many people said I made them cry. I wanted people to see her vulnerability. I mean, my God, the poor woman lost everything. Her name, status, title, money, reputation, home, and both of the loves of her life. It's no wonder she went a little cray-cray in the end.

The river where Olivia wanted
to bury the dog

However, I can't write a book and not have a happy ending, but I won't spoil it for you. In the end let's just say Lady Olivia gets what she deserves.

Image result for meryl streep without makeupI liked writing this book, because I also got to show Lady Olivia in a different light. She was not the pushy, meddlesome, matchmaking, pain-in-the-arse, or was she a political, backstabbing, political Parliament pushing wench who couldn't mind her own damn business. In this book, she was just a middle-aged woman starting from scratch on her own--like so many of my middle-aged friends who one day find themselves in the middle of a divorce with no where to go but their parents' for support.

I like Olivia at Seaford because she was free--finally of the lies and the pretense of being someone she truly wasn't. I also liked I got to (subtly) push Societal boundaries in this book. It's not everyday a Duchess wants to marry a commoner.

John Quiggins (after)
**Spoiler Alert**
When John returns, we find a very different man. A man shaped by the love of a child and horrified by what he must do for the family he must now protect. But John's a staid sort of fellow. We know he will do the right thing. 

And that's the story. This is my second favorite book from the series. The Lady's Fate scoring #1 in my heart. However, this book meant a lot when I wrote it, so I hope it shows up on the pages.

On Sale Now
$2.99 thru March 31




Anne Gallagher (c) 2019