Sunday, June 23, 2013

I'm Going on Hiatus Again -- For Good Reason

And the reason is, I'm writing the new story. The Not So Secret Project, which unfortunately, I still do not have a title for. But one will come to me I'm sure.

I'm hoping to be back here with good news (that the story is finished) by the end of July. I'll try and post a few more excerpts as I can.

Have a great summer until I see you again.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First Pages to A Not So Secret Project

Sorry about not posting on Sunday. We had a wicked thunderstorm last Thursday that caused a major power outage (4 days eek!) so no post. But I did manage to work on the first few pages of the Not So Secret Project book.

Mind you, for anyone who may be reading, this is a FIRST draft. It may not even resemble this in the book. This may not even make it in the book because this is a prologue. We'll see. But here's a taste.


Dianne huddled in the corner of the small fishing bateau with her brothers. Her sisters sat with her parents on the other side of the vessel. The boat rocked as the storm raged. She glanced at the small glass box holding the candle swaying above her. Could the boat be listing? It seemed the candle hit the wooden beams at the same time her stomach lurched. Little Michael whimpered in her lap. The poor boy was as pale as her petticoat. Father Guillaume, their parish priest, clutched his rosary tighter and Dianne watched his lips move in silent prayer.

A flash of lightning lit the sky through the small porthole, which was then covered by the rolling waves. Thunder boomed, or was it an explosion that caused everyone to look up at the boards over their heads. One of the crew slid down the ladder, a frightful expression on his face.

"The mast is gone. The Captain says we must get off the ship. Come, hurry!"

Dianne scrambled to her feet holding Michael in her arms. Her mother and father picked up the two little girls and swayed with the rocking boat to try to gain the ladder. A sudden roll of the boat brought Dianne down to her knees.

How were they going to get off the boat in the storm? Was the Captain mad? Where would they go? They would be killed on the rocks, or worse, drowned in the storm. Either way, leaving the boat was certain death.

Crawling on the floor, Dianne fianlly reached the ladder and looked down at Michael. How could she climb it with him in her arms? Father Guillaume took the boy from her.

Dianne hiked her cumbersome skirt between her legs and climbed. She reached the deck and water washed over her. A crew member grabbed her hand to keep her from sliding into the roiling ocean. Her mouth filled with the salt water. Dianne hadn't realized she'd been screaming.

The crew man helped her into a smaller dory and threw a barrel and some rope in the boat. "Tie yourself to the barrel," he shouted.

Dianne looked around the deck. Her parents and her sisters were gone. Had they gone aboard another boat? Had they been washed overboard? Rain and sea water mixed with her tears.

Father Guillaume handed Michael over the side of the dory. Dianne took the boy, placed him on her lap, and tied the rope around them both. Her other brothers, Daniel, and David, climbed over the side into the dory.

"Here," she yelled, handing Daniel, the elder, the rope. "Tie this around your waist, and then David, and then lash it around the barrel."

Father Guillaume climbed over, but as the bateau listed in the churning ocean, he was pitched into the sea.

Dianne screamed as she watched his face go underneath the waves. The crewman who had helped her, threw a barrel over the side. Dianne prayed the good Father would be able to find it and survive. The crewman then climbed into the dory and cut the lines, releasing it from the bateau. It slid off the larger vessel into the heaving ocean.

Waves washed over the side of the small boat. They were going to drown. Dianne wrapped one arm around Michael, reached for Daniel's hand, and pulled him closer. Daniel had David wrapped in his arms.

As they drifted away from the bateau, the sounds of splintering wood rent the air. The bateau had smashed into the rocks. Dianne prayed as it was all she could do.

"Dear God, please keep us safe."

If she survived, what was to become of her?


Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Historical Research -- The Ten Thousand

I had a reader recently ask me -- "Why are all your characters seemingly related to one another? Lady Olivia is cousin to almost everyone, and then there are so many others who are second cousins or once removed cousins. What's up with that?"

The "original" aristocracy (meaning way back in the Middle Ages) was made up of Dukes and Barons fighting for their feudal lord. I suppose if you wanted to remain King you placed your friends and relatives close to you. (It didn't always work, but you know how it goes. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.)

(Duke is in line for the throne -- any male with a bloodline that can be traced.** A Baron was like a body guard for the King. He kept his people in line. Sort of a Middle Ages County Sheriff.)

By the 1600's, the nepotism thing really took off. Dukes, Earls, Marquesses, were mostly made up of family members to the King. If you didn't have a title, you married into one. When you died and had no heir, the King usurped the title and then gave it to someone else. Which is why every man worth his salt tried to have as many kids as he could, to try to keep the title in the family. (Back then people died from even the smallest cold. Not to mention plague, sword fights, wars, so your life was always hanging in the balance. The more kids, the better off you'd be.)

Fathers used their daughters to gain entry into top families. If you were an Earl, you wanted your daughter to marry a duke's son. If you were a Baron, you wanted her to marry an Earl. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. The son had to marry no less than his station. A Duke's son would marry no less than a Marquess or an Earl's daughter. Forget about love, it was all about the title and wealth.

By the time we enter the Regency, the aristocracy was made up of all these people who were related in one way or another. More or less. Enter the Ten Thousand.

Now, some speculate that the 10K was made up of 10K families. Which I think is a little much. That's a lot of people. I'm assuming, the 10K meant that it was made up of 10,000 family MEMBERS. That, to me, is a lot closer to the mark.

I grew up in the small state of Rhode Island. My immediate family consisted of me and my two brothers. My extended family consisted of six aunts and uncles. My first cousins equal twenty-one. When they married and had kids, my second cousins equal thirty-six. My third cousins number somewhere around twenty-five. (Honestly, I lost count.) So suffice to say, at the family reunion, there are a lot of us. That's not even counting who they married and how those families are also invited to the family reunion. (Because in Rhode Island, the Six Rules of Separation apply. I once met a woman on a plane to Vegas who was related to me through marriage to a second cousin. It's really a very small world.)

So, in writing my series, some of them must be related. Especially if they're members of the arisocracy. I had to make a family tree. On a big poster board. That hangs right by my desk. And then I had to add another one. Lady Olivia was at the top of the first one, but as the series continues, I had to go back further, thus the second one. In order to make all the pieces fit for the last book, I had to make a tree for Olivia's husband Fitzhugh (which also gave me an idea for a new series...hmmm...more on that another time.)

So, that's the exceedingly basic idea of how the ten thousand came to be known as the ten thousand. I didn't get into the Letters Patent, and how that applies to becoming a member of the 10K. I'll save that for another post. It's very droll and complicated. (I touch on it a little bit in THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.)

**Nowadays, women are also in line. Well they were also in line back then (Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Victoria), but only if they were daughter to the King with no brother.

Tell me -- How many people are in your family?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Goodreads Give-Away

For those of you who cruised by on Wednesday, I made mention I would host a give-away on Goodreads for THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. Well, after a few internet snafus, and a few days of waiting before it was accepted, THE LADY'S MASQUERADE is up and running for a give-away on Goodreads.

I'm giving away 3 copies (Sorry, only to US residents). Yes, they will be autographed (although I forgot to announce that). Unfortunately, I can't draw the names out of hat -- Goodreads draws them through algorithms -- so if you're a Regency romance enthusiast, get on over and put your name in the hat.

And also, I've finished revising the paperbacks. THE LADY'S FATE, A ROMANTIC REGENCY COLLECTION, THE LADY'S MASQUERADE,  and THE DUKE'S DIVORCE** are available. I'm hoping to get THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT finished by Wednesday this week.

You can find them under MY NOVELS tab under my header, or at Amazon. (Same difference really.)

I've also re-released LADY CADORET'S LONGING, and A HUSBAND FOR MISS TRENT. However, MISS TRENT will be going *free* very shortly so don't buy it. You can read it here for free as well (note the tab under my header).

So, there's my last promotion post for awhile. Once I get Engagement up and running, I'm returning to writing mode. Hopefully, by the end of the summer I'll have something new for you to read.

Have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

**Duke's Divorce was finished and ready to go, but in fixing the e-version, I found a few more things so hopefully by the end of the day today. (Working with a merged document allows you to see things you might not normally because you've read the book 80,000 times.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Historical Research -- How Much is Too Much

For my Not So Secret Project, I've had to do some fast tracking into the French Revolution, the Huguenots, Catholic persecution, and the Church of England. Because this book is not in the category of my usual Regency romances, I've found myself researching long into the night. As well as interviewing a priest and a nun.

What all this research has done has given me a headache. I think I overdid it. And now I'm just confused. I have too much information in my head, which means I have to cut some out. But as always, what do I keep and what do I let go seems to be the question I've been asking myself.

The answer -- I have no idea. Unfortunately, I won't know what to keep until I start writing.

It's like a giant puzzle trying to find the ends and corners, and then filling in the middle. This is the part about writing historical fiction that I hate the most. I have no idea what's important enough to readers to keep them entertained.

Sure, there's the little stuff -- clothing, carriages, weapons, food, etc. -- that needs to be there, but those are almost second nature to me now. It's the big stuff that gets me.

In ROMANCING LADY RYDER, I had to dive into the Russian side of the Napoleonic War. I also over reached with that research and nearly drove myself mad trying to figure out which aspects of the Russian culture at that time to use. Fortunately, as I was writing it, the excess fell away and I ended up with just enough detail to make the story convincing. (Convincing for fiction, that is.)

With this project I need to keep all the elements of the Catholic persecution, which is a very heady subject in itself, and try and write an interesting romantic storyline to go with it. Hmmmmm....

Wish me luck.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Lady's Masquerade is Available

It has been awhile since I mentioned this book, March, as a matter of fact, when I gave you all an update on the process of formatting it. Well, what I forgot to do was tell you I published it. Ha. Who knew I would
forget such an important step?

So, THE LADY'S MASQUERADE is published and available across all venues (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords for Apple, Kobo, Sony etc.)

Also, I will be publishing the paperback version this week, with a give-away of 3 copies on Goodreads to run for the month of June. So if you're a member and you'd like a copy, enter to win. (I'm hoping to get all the bugs worked out by Tuesday so look for it. Please.)

Here's the cover copy ~

Someone is trying to kill Lady Penelope Leighton’s father, and now the fiend has turned his sights on her. Frightened, she flees London masquerading as a traveling companion for her elderly aunt.

When William Smith, the Earl of Westerly, arrives in London to a hero’s welcome he does not want, he takes the stewardship at his cousin’s manor in Wakefield-by-the-Sea to escape. He is more than surprised when he meets the mysterious Miss Penny Higgins residing there with a persnickety duchess.

Miss Higgins’ unfathomable beauty and stunning intellect are in direct contrast to her dowdy clothes and recurring stutter. William discerns the ladies are in trouble, it’s obvious they are in hiding, and William means to find out why, but no one is talking.

Before either of them realizes it, they’ve lost their hearts – Penny to a man who she thinks is a steward, and William to a woman destined for a duke.

After Penny’s true identity and reason for hiding are revealed to William, he immediately engages his friends in a campaign to help catch the blackguard who threatens her. However, upon their return to London, a confounding chain of events leads them right into the villain’s trap. Can William save her before it’s too late?

Also to note, this is the first book in the series and will give insight to many of the characters found in my other stories. And if you're clever enough, may be able to figure out Lady Olivia's big secret before I release the last book in the series in 2014.

Have a great week!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013