Sunday, February 23, 2014

Release Date, Pre-Orders, and Cover Copy for The Captain's Coincidence

Well, here we are. Isn't she beautiful? I happened to do a mock up cover last week, and boy howdy what a difference a professional cover makes. The original painting is actually a self-portrait -- Sarah Miriam Peale. I'm still in awe over that. I can't even draw a straight line never mind my own face.

Anyway, I'm thinking my release date will be the Ides of March. March 15. It's a significant date in the story, so I thought it was appropriate.

As I also mentioned once before, I'm going to offer pre-orders for this book. Alas, only on Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. (Amazon does not allow pre-orders from indie authors -- shame on them.) So look for it soon.

And here's the cover copy...

Decorated war hero, Captain Richard Gaines has given up his commission in the Royal Navy. He stalks the docks at night seeking relief from the nightmares of Trafalgar. One night, he happens upon a woman who captures his attention, and his heart. In a series of random coincidences, Richard is compelled toward Mrs. Wood, just as circumstantial evidence suggests that Mr. Wood may be involved in sedition.

Returning to England after a decade away, Amanda Wood is on a mission to save herself and her daughter from the prison of her marriage. Meeting the Captain seems heaven sent when he reveals an acquaintance with her only friend and brings an invitation for a visit – and a chance to escape. Her joy is short-lived though, when her husband insists on going with her.

The situation takes a grievous turn when Amanda’s husband kidnaps their daughter. Richard must save her, but to do that he must engage the enemy at sea. And it appears Amanda’s husband may be a nefarious pirate. With limited armaments and a damaged vessel, Richard knows he has only one chance to rescue the little girl.

When the battle is over, to the victor, go the spoils. Yet, Richard must overcome his tormented past, in order to begin a future with the woman he loves. However, Amanda holds a secret that could destroy that very same future.


Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Captain's Coincidence is Finished

Good Morning. Yay! It's done, it's finished. I wrote THE END on Valentine's Day at 12.23 pm. Yay!

I'm letting it sit over the weekend. Marinate a little. I'll give it a complete read-through tomorrow. And then it's off to the critique partners. I'm hoping to be able to publish by the first of March. If all comes back okay.

I'm also going to try something different with this novel. I'm going to offer it as a pre-order on a select few vendors. (Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, B&N) I don't know if it will make a difference to anyone, but I thought I'd try it.

I'm heading straight into LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING another novella. This will be one of the prequels to THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. The other prequel, THE LADY'S SECRET I'm hoping to have finished before Easter break. (Okay, knowing me, Memorial Day Weekend.)

And I think that's it. I'm catching up on every day life right now.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you next week.

Oh, and the covers are just mock-ups I did for my designer. She's the one with all the talent.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Historical Research -- Travel Time

In writing any kind of historical, I cannot stress the amount of research necessary to make it believable. No, some people don't really care when the Battle of Hastings occurred or who sat in Parliament on the day Prince George took his seat as Regent, but for those of they who have studied such things and find a mistake in a novel, it rankles.

Writing THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE nearly brought me to my knees on some pages. Not only did I need to learn about ships (and crew and sailing), I also needed to learn how long it takes to travel (on both land and sea, by horse, by carriage, by ship) distances (both nautical and land -- big difference) and meteorology. You cannot sail a ship without wind.

Now, I have my trusty map of England always by my side as I write. My current formula to get anywhere in the country is 25 miles per hour on horseback. However, that's a hard ride for the animal, probably at a full gallop for the duration, which is why you always read about "changing horses".

Needless to say, whenever one of my characters needs to go somewhere, I adjust my ratio accordingly. Four coach horses travel faster than two, but there is the added time of changing the horses. (A coach and four can usually travel up to 75 miles in the course of a day -- with the caveat it's dry weather and good roads and not loaded with unnecessary luggage. Also if you were not apprehended by a highwayman, or broke an axle or wheel and didn't die when the carriage flipped over.)

In working on COINCIDENCE, I had to figure out how to sail around the country (from London to Liverpool), which is a lot harder than you might think. First we have to decide on the ship, its size, how many sails, the crew to work the sails, wind speed, wave height, and weather conditions. Fun stuff that. For the longest time, I couldn't make my timeline work because it was taking too long to get from one place to another. I finally realized that ships sail at night. They don't stop in port to sleep. (duh)

Here is my quick formula for ships -- each sail x 6 men. (This particular vessel is a 74 gun Ship of the Line, with main sails, top sails, and gallant sails, not to mention the sails over the bow and stern.) For each "side" of the sail, between 6-9 men worked the lines and rigging of these massive ships. So in rough estimates this ship would need 108 crew for the sails alone. And that was only one "watch" (shift of work = 4 hours). However, most sailors worked two watches and then had two off. Needless to say, there were over 300 men on board to work the sails alone. You might think that's a lot, but it's really not when you consider that so many men died during battle.

Another miscalculation on my part was to figure out where the shipping lanes would be. You can't just sail willy-nilly through the Channel, you need a plan. England relied on America for cotton, not to mention sugar and molasses from the West Indies. As well as trade from all over the world. Mail packets came and went. And let's not forget the Royal Navy had 3 different ports they used, as well as patrolled the waters of the English Channel out to the Atlantic. Needless to say there are a lot of ports in England and certain cargo only went to certain places. And then there were the ships sailing from one place in England to another. Upcountry goods and services tended to be shipped to London rather than hauled over land by horse -- coal, hay, grain, cotton goods. It was cheaper in the long run. However, no matter where the goods were going, the captains still needed to be aware of the shipping lanes. (When ships meet and must pass each other in opposite directions they do so port side to port side. Just FYI.)

And let's not forget about rocks, shoals, sand bars, little islands, and other things that you could crash into. Traveling by sea was just as dangerous as traveling by coach. Sometimes more so as the weather played a major factor in all things nautical. Dangerous roads could stop a coach. What are you going to do in the middle of the ocean when you're struck by lightning? There's no place to hide.

To travel in Regency England I liken it to a long road trip. Where now it would take a few hours traveling by car, back then it would take days, or sometimes weeks depending on how far you were going.

Here are a few of my estimates

By Coach (with good roads and fine weather)

London to Manchester = 5 - 7 days
London to Edinburgh, Scotland = 10 - 14 days
London to Plymouth = 1 day

By Ship

London to Liverpool = 3 - 4 days
London to Boston/New York = 6 weeks
Falmouth to Boston/New York (mail packet only) = 4 weeks

Now of course, these are just estimates, and one could never really know how long it would take unless one were there. Barring any more tedious research and mitigating factors, this is what I'm sticking to.

Tell me -- Back then, would you rather have traveled by coach or by ship? (And yes, I realize neither was convenient unless you were wealthy.)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Last Heroic Hero

Good Morning. Yesterday afternoon I finished with the final dramatic scene of THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE. I can't tell you what it is, but it was a bear to write. I cried while writing it, so I'm hoping it will bring a tear to your eye as well. (That's how I judge a book -- if it makes me cry, it's a winner.)

Sorry I haven't blogged. I've been writing. As much as I'd like to think I'm awesome at multitasking, I'm not. But I was thinking recently, (amidst the belly aching of all the research I had to do for this book), Richard is truly my last heroic hero.

Within the story, Richard and Robert are sharing this adventure. I don't know why Robert decided to tag along, it actually was supposed to be William, but Robert kept nudging me. And let me tell you, Robert is NOT hero material.  I wrote him exactly as he is -- a rich, spoiled, aristocrat, who is afraid of just about everything. I'd like to think he's Richard's foil.

At one point in the story, Robert calls Richard a "swashbuckler". Great image, huh? Well, it certainly fits Richard's personna. He's not afraid of anything. Or is he? Remember his inner demons? Well, Richard's been fighting them throughout the story. He's had a hard time of it too.

The thing about Richard, he's actually the strong silent type. He doesn't go all Rambo on people, he just quietly takes in all the information and then takes action. The problem with his silence is that he doesn't share these feelings. So naturally, the people around him are quite surprised by his actions when he does take them. Quite honestly, they think he's mad. (Crazy mad, not angry mad.)

Heroes (in my opinion) are supposed to be swashbuckling types -- running into burning buildings to save kittens, flipping overturned cars right side up to save the kids inside, repelling down mountains to save stranded (foolish) hikers. You know, those guys. They drink hard, they play hard, they work hard.

But Richard is broken. He had his life all planned out for him and then Trafalgar happened, and that changed him. And because of that, I tried to fit the elements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into the plot. It's hard when you can't use modern language.

I think I've done an admirable job in his progression from the beginning to the end (and Robert too). He's not the same man he started out as -- afraid, miserable, wondering. Of course, he couldn't be.

This has truly been the hardest character I have written so far.

Tell me -- Do you like swashbuckling heroes? Or do you like the strong silent type?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014