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

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.


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.

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

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.


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