Sunday, March 30, 2014

Working on the Next Book -- Lady Olivia's Undoing

Good Morning. Once I publish a book, I let it go into the universe with my very best wishes and never want to see it again. I look forward to future writing. And so, one week after publishing THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE, I started working on LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING. (I took a week off to clean my house and get my yard prepped for spring.)

Lady Olivia
I've been writing like a maniac, mostly because this story has been brewing in my head for the last year or so. LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING is one of the prequels to the last book in the series THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. Lady Olivia has been a stalwart character in all of my books and I've wanted to give her her own story for quite a while.

Unfortunately for Lady Olivia, things do not go as she plans and she finds her world turned completely upside down. I'm so excited about this book, I don't even know where to begin to tell you about it.

Henry Wade,
Marquess of Dunbury
Let me try. Remember a couple of months ago, I told you I had been searching for a new Lady Olivia, and that I found Phyllidia Law to portray her. Well, I changed my mind again. Even Phyllidia did not have what I wanted in my latest version of Olivia so I found a new one. Isn't she great. I think she can fall in love with Quiggins all over again.

However there's also another reason why I needed a new Lady O. I've been going on about this "secret" she has for the last several months, but when I started writing her new story, I found another one... About this man. Henry Wade, the Marquess of Dunbury. Isn't he just delicious? Don't you think they'd make a great pair. Yeah, me too.

John Quiggins
But what about Quiggins, you may ask? Isn't Olivia in love with Quiggins? I thought they were having a glorious affair, so taboo, considering he's a butler. Ah, yes, my ever indefatigable John Quiggins.

Well, the problem with Olivia is that she's loved Henry Wade since she was 20. Unfortunately, she was betrothed to the Duke of Caymore and had to abide by her parents wishes. Henry, broken-hearted, left for the war. Well, 37 years later, their paths cross again** and Henry and Olivia meet and fall in love. They spend a wonderful year together. However, Olivia leaves Henry in a fit of pique because he won't marry her. And then all that trouble with Penny happened (THE LADY'S MASQUERADE) and Olivia never resolved her issues with Henry. Then she met John and fell in love with him. Yes, even duchesses fall in and out of love.

In LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, we finally get the whole story about Lady Olivia, who she truly is and how she came to be one of the most powerful influential in London during the Regency. I bounce back and forth through her memories to the present day. It's all very fascinating to me. I've never quite written a love story like this. And yes, it is a love story.

I've also done something I do not normally do in my books...I only have one Point of View (POV). Olivia's. I didn't want Quiggins mucking up the business of being in my head and changing my story. So I left him out. Therefore, the entire book is all Olivia.

We get to meet her family, her friends, find out what secrets she holds, and how her influence has shaped and destroyed lives. Oh yes, everything Olivia has done up until this point in her life has been for purely selfish reasons. And in SEDUCTION she gets her comeuppance. But that's another story.

So there we have it.

On another note, I do not think I will be posting regularly through the month of April. I would like to really concentrate on this book and just write it so I will be able to publish it before the summer. If I have enough time, perhaps I'll even be able to work on THE LADY'S SECRET. Another prequel to SEDUCTION. Another fascinating look at a different side of Lady Olivia's family.

** Olivia's affair with Henry begins with the new series THE LADIES OF DUNBURY. Coming from Shore Road Publishing in 2015. (Or late 2014 if I can keep my head above water.)

Tell me -- How impatient are you for a new book in a series to come out? Or do you just read them when you find them?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Intimate Portrait -- My Newest "Groom" Stephen Summerville

Good Morning. Now that THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE is published, I need to start working on the last book in the Reluctant Grooms series. THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE.

Stephen Summerville
A little background information -- Stephen Summerville is an American shipbuilder. He was brought up in Boston, educated at Harvard, and worked under the great Henry Eckford. He's a nice guy.
He's also rich, handsome, and will be very instrumental in the defeat of Napoleon's forces at sea. He's a shipbuilder after all. But I get ahead of myself.

I like Stephen because he has no clue what is about to enfold.


Reginald Leighton,
Duke of Hargrave
He meets Reginald Leighton at some fancy New York party, and Stephen is introduced to Reginald's daughters.

Arabella "Bella", the youngest, is completely smitten with Stephen. They get engaged. (after all she is the second daughter, and although beautiful, doesn't necessarily need to marry in her station. Stephen is far wealthier than some duke's sons, so the match is a go.)

Yet, Ariana, the eldest daughter is beguiling in her own way. And even though she will do nothing to upset the "understanding" between Bella and Stephen, in a tiny little place in her heart, Ariana wishes she could be the one to marry him. And Stephen has a fondness for Ariana, but only as a future sister-in-law, until he sees her with another man, and then somehow the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head. Stephen is baffled by his feelings for Ariana because he loves Bella. Hmmmm.....

The family is returning to England, Stephen is asked to accompany them and Bella begins to wonder if Stephen is actually the right choice for her. Sure he loves her, is rich, handsome, and can dance, but she is a duke's daughter after all. Bella has an inkling that Ariana's feelings for Stephen are much more than she lets on and at every opportunity, throws Stephen and Ariana together.

Edward Perrington,
Duke of Straford
Especially when she meets this man.
Edward Perrington, Duke of Straford, whom we have briefly met in LADY CADORET'S LONGING. Hmmm... Think there's enough twists and turns in this book already? I don't think so.

When the family, and Stephen, return to England, Ariana is besieged with admirers (naturally her mother lets it be known that Ariana, as the eldest, is worth a small fortune) and she meets a man who woos her. (Unfortunately, he doesn't have a name yet. I just found him yesterday.)

However, when Stephen realizes that Ariana's suitor is only out for her money, he tries to protect her, and that raises all kinds of questions about who he truly loves. Ooops.

Okay, do you think THAT is enough to keep this romance on its toes? Nope, not so much. You see, the real reason Reginald Leighton took his daughters to America, was to find this Stephen Summerville and get him to marry one of them because...

I can't tell you. I know, what a bad person I am. However, there is more to this story, more to this series, than I let on. I'm supposed to build suspense, right? I'm supposed to make readers want to read this story, right? Which is why I'm also writing prequels to THE SEDUCTION.... All will be revealed in its own time. Forgive me, but you'll just have to wait.

Tell me -- Do you hate when authors tell you about their next book and leave you hanging? If you have only partial information, does that make you want to read the book more, or less? Or do you not care at all and will read it when you get around to it?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Historical Research -- Non-Pertinent Information

Good Morning. Now that THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE is published (yes, yesterday as a matter of fact, and is available everywhere) I took a look at the next story I'm going to write in the Reluctant Grooms series. LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING.

Now, for those of you who have read my books, you know Lady Olivia plays an important factor in almost all of them. She's a busy body of the first water, a dragon, a harpy, but if she likes you, her friendship knows no bounds. She also thinks she's a matchmaker.

What you don't know about Lady Olivia will surprise you, which is why this post came about. In order to write Olivia's story, and the subsequent two remaining books in the series, I had to do a lot of "unnecessary" research. I say unnecessary, but it's not. It's more tedious than anything really.

Olivia carries a secret that I didn't even know she had until last year, which is also why it took me so long to develop the first two books (LADY'S MASQUERADE and now CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE). I wanted to make sure I planted the seeds of it early, so if you care to read the whole series in order, it won't come out of left field. I guess you might call it a "theme", but I never intended it that way.

So, here's some non-pertinent information I had to develop for Olivia that involved research.

* She's a Churchill. Yes, THAT Churchill. (She's Winston's relative).
* She was married at 20, to a man who was 62. (I developed family trees for both.)
* Her friends when Fuzzy (her husband Fitzhugh) was alive included, the King and Queen, George Grenville, Duke of Portland, Shelburne, Lord North (these men were all major players in Parliament during the American Revolution.)
* She's a staunch supporter of the Whigs (although Fuzzy was a Tory).
* She's having an affair with the butler Quiggins. Shocking I know. But she loves him. (And by the way, Quiggins is not actually a butler. I touch on that a little bit in LADY'S FATE. And in uncovering who HE really is, involved more research.)

And so you may wonder, why did I do all this non-pertinent information searching? Because I need to know it. I can't write a book that involves the history of England during the time of the Regency without it. Even though it's fiction, I still need it to be believable. And even though sometimes I fudge a little on the details**, I still need to make it coherent. I need to sound like I know what I'm talking about. And for the most part, I do.

I can't claim I know everything, because well, I'm a writer, not an historical researcher (although, I could probably get a job doing that), but I know more than most, and I could probably get through a round of Jeopardy and win the "Regency" category. lol

If you follow my blog posts, you know I kvetched about the research I had to do for COINCIDENCE. Ships, cannon fire, mapping, nautical references (I can insult someone fifteen ways to Sunday now and not swear once), traveling times, America and their part in the Napoleonic Wars (which incidentally was a lot more than they teach in school), and who was in charge of what department at Whitehall. I did the same thing with Greenleigh in ROMANCING LADY RYDER with the Russians.

Some of it showed up in the books, but for the most part, I didn't bog the story down with all the details. You would have been bored. (Maybe you are) But to me, those unnecessary bits of research that mean nothing to you, allow me to develop the stories and my characters more fully (at least in my mind) so I can give the readers a fuller broader scope of it all.

** As for fudging the details -- because what I write is FICTION, I have taken some information and distorted it to make it fit better in my book. In COINCIDENCE for instance, the Pirate Moody was a real pirate from North Carolina. However, he plied the waters off the coast of America in the early 1700's, not 1800's. Also, I refer to the artist Thomas Gainsborough. In my story, however, he is Thomas Gaines-Borough, so he can be related to Richard Gaines the hero in COINCIDENCE. (I'm sure I'll get letters about THAT.) In the DUKE's DIVORCE, I took the facts about divorce in the early 1800's and distorted them to fit the book. And we all know that Prince George could not create Letters Patent, however, he had a hand in them for William in MASQUERADE. I write FICTION.

Tell me -- How far do you go when researching? Do you get in, get what you need and get out? Or, do you follow the trails of tangents that you think might be important, or maybe interesting?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Blog, A Newsletter, A Website

Good Morning. With THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE ready to be published (March 15th), I've been giving a lot of thought to promotion. I don't generally do any. I usually blog about the release once, post it on Twitter a couple of times, and that's about it. I don't like it, I'm not good at it. I hate wasting my time doing something I don't like and am not good at. However....

Making my rounds on the blogosphere the last couple of weeks, I've noticed more and more writers are promoting newsletters. Some writers espouse we HAVE to have them. Me not so much. Yes, I can see their point --
A newsletter allows for fans to know when the next book will be released before the general public, thereby building steam with a pre-purchase.
A newsletter can have many little tidbits about the book that the general public might not ever know.
A newsletter may also contain little tidbits about the author that the general public might not ever know.

A newsletter is also just another piece of email waiting to go into the trash.

I have exactly one subscription to a newsletter that lands in my mailbox every other month or so. I skim it and then trash it.

A website (to me) is a static site about the author and his/her books. Covers, where to buy links, maybe a blurb or two, maybe a review or two, and that's about it. Now sometimes a website, if built correctly also has a blog attached. That's okay. But if you don't land on the blog, then you have to click around.
When I go to a website, I click around to see what I can see, and then leave. I hardly ever go back, especially if there is no blog. It's just a page taking up cyber space.

I've resisted having dotcom after my name, well, quite frankly, there are quite a number of Anne Gallagher dot coms out there. A few writers, a chef, a lawyer. So a website for me would have to be something like Anne Gallagher writer dot com. Too long. Anne Gallagher author dot com -- sorry, already taken. Anne Gallagher Regency writer dot com. Way too long and who would remember it anyway.

A blog is something else. Short for web-log, it's a kind of cyber diary, at least that's my understanding of it. I can say whatever I want, have whatever I want on its pages. Nothing is set in stone, I can change it at will. If I don't like my header -- Poof, I get a new one. I don't like my pages -- Poof, I put new content up.

As for the newsletter, I already pretty much spill my guts right here. Why would someone want to read it twice? (I know an author who sends a newsletter and then puts the same content on his blog. What's the point in redundancy?) I put excerpts from the books on the blog. I post pictures of who I think my characters should be on the blog. (And on Pinterest if you want to see everyone all at once.) I post content on my research on the blog.

What's not to love about having a blog as a website and newsletter? And if you really want to see what I'm up to every single week, all you have to do is subscribe to this blog via email. The little sign up thingy is right on my sidebar. Try it once or twice, see if you like it. If not, then all you have to do is cancel the subscription. It doesn't cost you a dime.

In this new publishing dynamic when everyone is fighting for readers, it's all about being seen and heard. It's MORE MORE MORE, not less less less. Do we really need to have all those things? I can barely keep up with the social media I do take on. Why would I want to do more? Will it get me new readers? Will it make fans of those readers?

I don't know. They say this business has a long tail. People will be able to find my books twenty years from now. With the ebook revolution, books will never go out of print. So, will I be the next Jane Austen being read 100 years from now? Who knows. But will a newsletter still be read 20 years from now? Probably not.

Tell me -- How do you feel about newsletters, blogs, websites? Is it okay to have a blog as a website with newsletter content?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pinterest as a Writing Tool

Yes, I'm on Pinterest. I have several boards, as a matter of fact, if you haven't been to my page, you'll see that I have all of my books as boards -- who I think my characters could be, and recently I've added where they live. And a few miscellaneous boards that I've been adding to as I go along. 

Some of my friends say they were disappointed they looked at the characters BEFORE they read my books, they didn't picture the characters quite that way, and others have said my "people" were spot on. I guess it's up to you whether you look or not.

However, what I've found is that Pinterest is an outlet for me that allows my left brain (right brain? I get them mixed up lol) to be creative artfully. Allow me to explain -- when I write, I stare at a blank white page, and type in black font. No color, no shape, no soul, as it were. Whereas on Pinterest, I get to "play" with art in all forms, design my boards, use my imagination to the best of its ability.

I don't use it often, mainly when I find pictures that go along with my stories. I don't go to Pinterest and spend hours and hours searching for things. I don't generally "pin" other peoples pictures to my boards (unless I find one that really speaks to me, like my new Heroes Board. But quite honestly, that was a one time thing.) I suppose if I were more technologically minded, I would pin everything I see, but I haven't quite figured out how to do it.

Before I found Pinterest, I had all my characters on my blog in posts. But if you missed a post, then you would miss the characters and then have to search for them. Now, they're all there in one place with one click.  

I showed my page to the secretary at school the other day and she was very impressed. She said, "Oh, this is fabulous, now I can click on the link as I'm reading the book and see who you're writing about. It's like a movie without the cinema." Yeah, something like that.

Here's the link   (If you click on it, it will take you there directly)

Tell me - Do you use Pinterest? 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014