Tomorrow sees the start of the National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo. Writers attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I entered last year but only managed about a quarter of that target because I was editing my debut novel The Dragon Legacy that released December 2013.
This year I am in a similar position with the release of my second book in The Dragon Legacy series, The Revenge Masquerade in December 2014.
I have decided to enter even though it will test my multitasking and time- management skills to the limit. 🙂 My edits will be my top priority but however much I write of my new novel it will bring it closer to completion.
Past Shadows is a Gothic, historical romance. I started it last year in NaNo and so this year I intend to add to it. I’m aiming for a finished word count of around 70,000 so If I can write 50,000 in the contest that will be great.
Justin Bracken has no choice but to resign his commission and return home to the cotton mills, when his father falls ill. Unrest among the workers, fire, death and an opinionated woman all seek to make his new life every bit as dangerous as the military battles he fought in the past.
Young widow and vicar’s daughter Lucinda Osborne is born out of her time. When her husband dies, she returns to her father’s home determined to improve the lives of the mill workers she grew up with. Mill owner, Charles Bracken refuses her offer to educate the workers’ children and threatens her. Lucinda narrowly escapes his unwelcome attentions, thanks to the rugged stranger who intervenes.
A fire at the mill and the sudden death of the mill owner has profound implications for Lucinda, who suspects her cousins’ are responsible. Determined to save them from the hangman’s noose, she risks her own reputation to do so.
Grief stricken by his father’s sudden death, Justin cannot forget his father’s last words, accusing Lucinda of starting the fire in the mill. Determined to find out the truth Justin summons the vicar’s daughter to the manor. Intuitively he knows she is not guilty but believes she knows who is. In an attempt to get to the truth and unable to control his inconvenient passion, he makes her an indecent proposal but will she accept?
Captain Justin Bracken surveyed his father’ empire as he savored the smooth, aged whiskey, which slipped down his throat and left a pleasant warmness in its wake. The pristine, white manor house purposely built by his father, Charles Bracken, with the majority of windows facing the mills so he could admire his handiwork and spy on his workforce, in case anyone dared to shirk their duty or steal from him.
Justin cast a desultory eye around the palatial library where he sat; it was full of leather bound first editions, no one would ever read. Part of the pretence his father insisted upon, believing it made his money more acceptable to the landed gentry. Charles’ wealth owed more to the hard work of others, than birthright but maybe the similarities to old money were not so different, the chosen few, profited from the toil and poverty of the masses.
How typical of his father to prefer an industrial view rather than the exquisite greenery that surrounded them. The mills cut a swath through the valley. Tall multi- windowed, brick buildings and their interconnecting paths rose from the green hills and woods and ruined the little piece of heaven he so enjoyed as a boy. Justin didn’t share his father’s passion for commerce but Charles’ apoplexy, which stiffened the left side of his well-built body and limited his mobility, made his overseeing the three mills untenable. As the only son and heir Justin resigned his commission in the army, his chosen career of more than fifteen years and returned to the Derbyshire countryside and the family business.
A perfectly proportioned female form drew his silver- eyed gaze as she walked close to the mill ponds, the source of power for the two cotton mills. The woman stopped and looked back as if she could feel the weight of his stare. Justin stepped back from the long sash window. She flicked a stray hair from her face and carried on her way. He couldn’t discern her facial features but the vibrant mahogany red of her hair triggered a long ago memory of a young girl he secretly played hide and seek with, in the little wood. It couldn’t be little Lucy surely she would be long married and moved away by now. He turned away but a shadow in the mill window far below, stopped him. He stared at the dusty window and thought he saw a woman staring back at him but no one would be on the mill’s top floor which served as a store for the raw cotton. The creaking protest of a door hinge followed by the slam of the heavy oak door against the dark oak panelling drew his attention away from the window.’
©Jane Hunt October 2014
Follow my progress over the next month here on my blog and on the NaNoWriMo website.