First Look: Anything You Ask of Me

The wait is over!

MFRW-Firsts-buttonI am a member of an amazing organization called Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) and am totally stoked to be a part of the first MFRW Blog Hop! And, I’m also terrified, because this is my first “official” preview of my novel, Anything You Ask of Me.

For reasons still unbeknownst to me, I don’t often blog about the content of my novel. I mean, in the past few months, together we’ve seen it evolve from Manuscript to an actual titled, finished first draft. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. I’ve drunk too much wine.

But today, friends, today in honor of MFRW’s “Firsts” Blog Hop, I’m giving you a first look at Anything You Ask of Me, featuring an introduction to the 1860s in which I promise not to bore you—and if you hang on to the bitter end, I’ll give you chance to win a 5×7 photograph I took at Gettysburg! Exciting, right? Let’s go!

What are you willing to risk? If he asks you to do it for him, how far is too far?

In 1862, a society girl turned spy must decide which is more important: the married general who asks her to risk everything for him, or the man tasked to stop her at any cost.

Victorian Ladies
Victorian Ladies

The summer of 1862 marked the start of the second year of the Civil War. As a country divided, we’ve seen the worst of each other: senators beat with canes, a failed raid by abolitionists to incite slave uprisings, skirmishes, the First Battle of Manassas. There are the casualties: the scarred, the maimed, the dead.

Elizabeth Archer is a society girl. She’s educated. She comes from a well to do family. And, although she lives in Maryland—a border state that hasn’t sworn allegiance to either North or South—her life is affected very little by the war. Until one day, all that changes.

Victorian women are tough. They aren’t porcelain dolls; life is hard in the 1860s. Child mortality rate is staggering. Disease—cholera, typhoid—can be one sip of water away. A spark from the fireplace ignites your beautiful belled skirt: if you’re lucky, you’ll only be scarred, but chances are you’ll burn to death (as did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife). Patent medicines can be concocted from kerosene, morphine, and alcohol: a “cure” often worse than the ailment. Women are not allowed to enlist in the Army. It doesn’t stop them.Women are not allowed to be nurses or doctors. It doesn’t stop them.

Elizabeth Archer isn’t delicate. She’s tenacious. She’s headstrong. She captivates and charms a married man: a Confederate cavalry commander who asks

Victorian Long Corset, 1862
Victorian Long Corset, 1862

her to risk everything and pass messages about Federal movement to him. It’s a request so simple, so innocent; but sets off a chain of events that threatens not only her freedom, but her life.

In September 1861, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:

War has taught us, as nothing else could, what we can be and are.

Who is Elizabeth Archer? Whether she’s a saint or a sinner, one decision—one choice made out of blind devotion—will determine exactly what she is. And what she’s capable of doing.

Ready for a contest?

All you have to do is leave a comment! Let me know your thoughts on the “first look” of Anything You Ask of Me. Tell me your favorite Civil War Battlefield and why. Whatever you want to say. One commenter will be picked at random and will win a 5×7 photograph of some awesome artillery in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg.

Ready for more Anything You Ask of Me? Stay tuned! I ramble on here on my blog, but am also active on Twitter and Facebook. Follow/Like for updates!

Twitter: @Heather_Curley

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/heatherhambelcurley

38 Comments

  1. I was at Gettysburg as a child and remember feeling cold and sullen in spite of it being a summer’s day. My favorite battlefield, if I can use that word, is Culloden in Scotland. (Yeah, I know it is not our civil war) It is very spiritual. The only one to rival it would be where Col Custer met his maker–Little Big Horn. Now that is steeped in the spirit.

    Thanks for the entertaining look at “Anything You Ask Of me”
    Warm Regards,
    Christine London

    1. Thank you so much! Gettysburg is such an amazing place. Tragedy never leaves a place and you can really feel it walking across those fields.

      I’ve only been out west once and we only had time to stop at one battlefield. We picked Wounded Knee. If we ever make it that way again, Little Big Horn tops our list. I’m not a Custer fan though, he notoriously is my least favorite figure of the war.

  2. Wow. All I can say is wow. You brought back so many memories for me. I grew up in a town that saw a lot of action during the Civil War–Fredericksburg, VA. We lived on just the other side of the battle field park… so my front yard was shaped like a trench and there were times when I’d be playing in the dirt and pull out an old bullet or a cast iron sun dial–lol, I think my mother still uses that as a paper weight or a door stopper. There’s so much rich material from the Civil War era, but for me… it has a personal note. Not from a family reference (although we’ve got plenty of those too), but from a summer job I had while in high school. It was all volunteer work at the site for the Battle of Chancellorsville–I was tasked with sitting in a vault and transcribing a diary from a Confederate soldier. I gotta tell ya that at the age of 17… it gave me a whole new set of glasses to look at my world through. Very moving.

    Great post and I’m looking forward to reading your book!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Fredericksburg is beautiful–The Hubs and I have been debating going there for our ten year wedding anniversary. I haven’t been there since 2001. I’ve actually been thinking about writing my next novel around the battle. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to transcribe a soldier’s diary! Intense is the only word that comes to mind. I worked an archaeological dig at Harpers Ferry back in 2004 and even just handling the broken pieces of pottery and shards of glass was haunting. I can’t imagine reading/working with actual written words! Please stop by again–not only for updates on my book, but I’ll be posting about the 150th of Gettysburg this summer. I’m looking forward to it!

  3. This sounds really good. One of my ancestors was wounded at Gettysburg and another at the Battle of the Wilderness, so I’ve long been interested in the Civil War.

    (I’m another blog hopper dropping by to give everyone a page hit, but had to comment on your post.)

    1. Thank you so much! This blog hop was so much fun! I’m looking forward to future hops! I have never been to the Wilderness, but have always wanted to go down through there and Chancellorsville. How interesting to have ancestors who fought in the battles! My hubs had an ancestor who fought at Gettysburg. It has been extremely interesting to research his life!

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