Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘What would make you quit writing?’ #amwriting #July2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

July 7 question – What would make you quit writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

 
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What would make you quit writing? 

I would never, ever quit writing.

I started writing poems, stories, and novels when I was a teenager. I can’t imagine my life without writing, every single day.

The only thing that would stop me would be a serious illness, which would make writing cognitively or physically impossible.

If I stopped writing novels, which I’m (almost) sure I wouldn’t, I’d still write poems, diary entries, blog posts and perhaps even my memoir.

On the other hand, I might quit publishing one day (although I can’t see this happening any time soon), because, especially when you’re an indie author, there is too much to do in this wonderful but exhausting profession. 

As well as learning about and improving our writing craft, blogging and using social media, we have to learn about the business of publishing and marketing. We have to outsource experts such as proofreaders, editors and cover designers, and hundreds more things.

I’ve learned where to find experts, on goodreads, you tube, reedsy, fiverr, and following the advice of some generous bloggers, podcasters and youtubers who share their knowledge and advice, such as The Creative Penn. 

I’ve learnt how to use Canva, Facebook author page, Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, how to format and upload my books on amazon, and use wordpress. 

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I made this banner for The Eyre Hall Series myself on Canva. It used to be a trilogy, but it has now become a series of six books. Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, is available for preorder and it will be published on 22nd August. And books two and three, All Hallows at Eyre Hall and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall will be published the same week. Book four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall will be published in the autumn.

This may not seem like a lot, but hey, the first computer I ever saw was on Star Trek when I was ten. I wasn’t near enough to touch a real one until I was nearly thirty and it was called Amstrad (does anyone else remember it in the 80s?). So I feel quite proud of my digital competence!   

Right now I’m learning how to set up a mailing list with mailerlite. After watching a handful of videos hundreds of times, and trial and error, I’ve done it, but I haven’t managed to link it to WordPress. That will be my next milestone.

Here’s the image for the landing page. If you click on it, you will be taken to the sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

The Eyre Hall Series is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.

You can preorder Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here, or you can ask me for an ARC in the comments, or sign up for my email list by clicking on the image above.

If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:

Thanks for reading! Have a fabulous Wednesday and keep writing, no matter what!

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One in The Eyre Hall Series, is available for #Preorder on Amazon! #Victorian #Gothic #Romance #ARC

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre in this thrilling Victorian Gothic Romance.

Twenty-one years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane is coping with the imminent death of her bedridden husband, and the revelation of more secrets. A disheartened Jane believes matters cannot get worse until an unexpected visitor brings news of Bertha Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, which add to Jane’s devastation, as the ghosts of Thornfield Hall return to torment her.

From the Blurb

News of Rochester’s ill health reaches Richard Mason in Jamaica. He has unfinished business with Edward Rochester, his deceased sister, Bertha Mason’s husband.
Richard returns to the Rochester estate to torment an already distraught Jane with disturbing demands and the revelation of more dark secrets from the attic at Thornfield Hall.

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall is Book One of The Eyre Hall Series. Its multiple narrators explore the evolution of the original characters, and bring to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy has Become a Series

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall takes place a few months before the original trilogy, between July and October 1865, and leads up to the first chapter of All Hallows at Eyre Hall.

The original first novel, which is now Book Two, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, takes place in October and November 1865 and remains essentially the same as the first edition, with some minor improvements and adjustments.

The original second novel Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, which is now Book Three in the series is also essentially the same as the first edition with some minor improvements.

Both novels, All Hallows and Twelfth Night have been re-edited and will be republished on 22nd of August, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall’s Publication Day. So the first three novels in the series will be available on 22nd of August.

The Eyre Hall Series

What if you’ve already read the original trilogy?

Readers who have already read the original trilogy have asked me about the new reading order of the series. This is what I suggest:

1- Read Blood Moon at Eyre Hall to get some more back story to All Hallows at Eyre Hall. (Of course you could go straight to Book Four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, to be published in November, but it’s a pity to miss out on Blood Moon, it’s a fabulous book with some revealing insights to the characters and what happens next in the series, and you can get an ARC copy, just ask!)

After reading Blood Moon at Eyre Hall you can either re-read All Hallows and Twelfth Night if you read them a long time ago and feel you need to refresh your memory, or jump straight into Book Four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall which will be published in November (ARC copies will be available a month earlier).

Would you like to read an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review?

If you would like to read an ARC of Blood Moon at Eyre Hall in digital format, let me know in the comments and I’ll get in touch, or send me a message on Twitter or Facebook, or follow the link below to sign up for my mailing list.

Click on the image to sign up for my newsletter! You’ll get news of blog posts, special offers and new releases.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy: Unpublished BUT The Eyre Hall Series will be Published shortly #JaneEyre and #WideSargassoSea Sequel

It was with sadness that I clicked on the ‘unpublish’ button on My KDP Bookshelf yesterday morning. So now, if you go to my Amazon Author page you will not be able to purchase my novels in ebook format any more. But, fear not, remember, ‘All’s well that ends well’!

Banner and Lucy

This was the banner I created in 2016, when I published the third and final novel in my series, Midsummer at Eyre Hall. It’s been almost five years since that happened, and seven years since I published my first novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. It’s been a wonderful journey as an independent author, improving my writing skills, learning about self-publishing, blogging, networking with other authors, readers and reviewers, and marketing, because an indie author has to do it all, and/or outsource to others.

When I started writing All Hallows at Eyre Hall, my sequel to Jane Eyre, I had four characters, Mrs Rochester (nee Jane Eyre) Mr Edward Rochester, Mr Richard Mason and Miss Annette Mason, in a setting, Eyre Hall, in Yorkshire, rebuilt by Jane, on the site of Thornfield Hall, after it was burnt down and she married Mr Rochester, on a specific date, twenty-two years after their marriage in October 1865, while Mr Rochester is on his deathbed. I had a very vague plot; Richard Mason was to bring Bertha Mason, Edward’s first wife’s daughter, Annette, born in the attic, while she was imprisoned at Thornfield Hall, back to England, from Jamaica, where she had been living, under his supervision, to blackmail Jane Eyre.

Plotter, Pantser or Plantser?

I began my first novel as a ‘pantser’; I sat down and wrote All Hallows at Eyre Hall, with no attention to plot structure or character arc. I had my characters, location and one specific plot line, and I wrote with the naïve confidence that it would all work out in the end. I started writing, during my summer holidays in 2013 (I was working as a teacher at the time), by September, I realised it would be a trilogy, because although there was one main plot, there were plenty of linked sub plots, and over twenty characters had come into play.

I also realised I needed a plan to keep all the plot lines, character arcs, and events in place, so I decided to plot my novels, but I didn’t become a plotter, I became a plantser. This means I prepare an outline of my novel, with scenes and chapters, and then I write, but I’m not a slave to my plot. The plot guides me to a destination, but my characters decide if they want to follow the plan or rewrite it with their own ideas. I literally go with my character’s flow. The end product looks like the original plot, but it’s never the same, and that’s the beauty of plantsing; you get the best of both worlds.

All Hallows was a learning experience. Writing this novel taught me my strengths and weaknesses, and learning from them helped me become a better writer. It’s not my favourite novel (yes, I do have a favourite, and some of you already know which one it is), but it is the most special, because by writing this novel, I discovered the best writing process for me.

I wrote and published a book a year after All Hallows. By trial and error I found two great editors, one in the UK and one in the US, several fabulous cover designers, I learnt something about selling and marketing books, and a lot about the self-publishing business, thanks to many generous people on YouTube, specialised blogs and other social media. I learnt to format and upload my books as ebooks and paperbacks on Amazon, and dabble in a bit of marketing, at a very basic level. It has been an exhausting, but hugely rewarding enterprise, I had never even imagined lay ahead of me when I started writing.

Everything changed in 2020

So, what happened in 2020? Actually, it all started in 2019, when I took early retirement from teaching in September and decided to write full time. I expected to have more time for my literary pursuits, but starting in December 2019, everything went downhill. It was a very complex year for personal and family reasons. There were births, illness, marriage and divorce in the family to cope with, as well as Covid-19, and although ideas were bursting to be written, they were put on hold, as I attended to the urgent matters in my family’s lives.

Everything changed again in the autumn of 2020. Suddenly, I had all the time in the world to write, due to partial lockdown, and the personal and family issues were well on the mend, so I resumed my neglected writing career with full force. This means that The Eyre Hall Trilogy has gradually become The Eyre Hall Series, an idea which had been in my mind, and partly on paper, for some time.

The first new instalment is Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, The new Book One in the series.

This led to a third edition of All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which has become Book Two. The series continues with a second, revised edition of Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, which has become Book Three of the Eyre Hall Series.

I reached a major hurdle when it came to Midsummer at Eyre Hall, which covered over ten years and has now become three books: Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, Book Four of The Eyre Hall Series.

Followed by Book Five of the Eyre Hall Series, Snow Moon At Eyre Hall.

And finally, Midsummer at Eyre Hall is now Book Six in the Eyre Hall Series.

So The Eyre Hall Trilogy has become The has become The Eyre Hall Series with six books.

The first four novels are complete, but in various stages of editing and formatting. The last two are still in early drafts. I hope to publish Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall in July, and the following books will be published one a month until the whole series and Box Set will be complete by December, 2021.

This being the case, I thought it best to unpublish the original trilogy. For those who have read The Eyre Hall Trilogy, I suggest two options; you could reread the whole new series (The box set of six books will have a very special price). Otherwise, if you remember the plot, you can take up the story after Twelfth Night, because there are no major changes up to the end of this novel, and read the last three books, which are new. If you’re still not sure, drop me a line at the email below, or in the comments.

Finally, if any of you would like to be the first to read Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One in The Eyre Hall Series, please let me know, so I can get in touch personally, either in the comments below, or email me at luccia.gray@gmail.com so I can send you an ARC.

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Readers’ Surprising Responses’ #amwriting #Histfic #JaneEyre #May2021

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

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Have my readers’ responses surprised me? Definitely!

I have over a hundred written reviews on Amazon, and over two hundred reviews on Goodreads, which may not seem like a lot, but it never ceases to amaze me. The fact that so many readers, people I don’t know and who may never have heard of me, a relatively little known author, in a vast ocean of millions of books and writers, have been motivated to read my books and taken the trouble to write a review, amazes me.  

I feel encouraged by the good reviews, which fortunately account for the majority, and that used to surprise me when I started publishing, seven years ago, in 2014, because I was very insecure!

I used to feel upset when I got a negative review, again, because I was very insecure, but now I’m less insecure and I appreciate them too, because some are useful, and at least they all count as reviews!

At first, I was surprised that so many readers disliked my novel because they thought I had treated Mr Rochester too harshly. In my defense, I’d say I didn’t lock him in a windowless attic, or make him suffer any physical torture! He lived a good life, with his wife and son, even though he went back to some of his old ways. 

I mean, locking your wife in an attic in dire conditions, hidden from everyone (in spite of being a moneyed heiress), and pretending you’re single to the point of intending bigamy (until your wedding was interrupted at the altar) with an innocent nineteen-year-old, is pretty objectionable behaviour, even for 19th century standards.    

On the other hand, I can appreciate the fact that Mr Rochester has been an icon of passionate love, aka the brooding Byronic hero/lover, who is brought to his feet due to the love of a ‘good’ woman, for almost 200 years, but that’s due to an erroneous interpretation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Jane Eyre is the protagonist the reader should root for, not Rochester. Jane is the independent, resourceful and single-minded nineteen-year-old woman who stood up to a manipulative rake and won him over on her terms, with her money (Spoiler alert: at the end of the novel she becomes an heiress herself), once he was a widower, and once she had made her way in the world working and living on her own, a feat not all women achieve, even nowadays.  

I’d love to continue to be surprised by my readers, and I hope to surprise them too with more novels. I started by writing The Eyre Hall which will become The Eyre Hall Series shortly, as two new novels, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall and Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall are coming soon! 

Take a look at my provisional banner, I’m still making changes and adapting the covers. Do you like them? 

If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:

Extract from ‘Blood Moon at Eyre Hall’ #amediting #amwriting

Writing the first draft of the fourth novel, which is the prequel to the Eyre Hall Trilogy, my sequel to Jane Eyre, was challenging but fun. The exploration of the characters’ backstories and the gradual unveiling of the plot was thrilling. But editing is another story.

I am currently grinding my teeth and pulling out my hair, because I’m sending my editor the second and final edit on Monday. 

Why does self-editing get more difficult with every novel I write? Answers in the comments, please! 

Meanwhile, I’m taking a brief break to post a short extract from Chapter 12 of Blood Moon at Eyre Hall. Narrated by Michael, Mrs Rochester’s valet.

“My husband’s first wife, was a very unfortunate woman. It pains me to remember her.”

Mrs Rochester turned to me. “You look surprised, Michael. So was I when I met her, just once.”

Her eyes followed the tumbling flight of the chestnut leaves blowing across the lawn. “The leaves remind me of some lines from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, ‘If I were a dead leaf, Or a swift cloud to fly with thee, Uncontrollable in my wanderings, Oh, lift me like a wave, a leaf, a cloud!’”

She sighed and closed her eyes. “’I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!’ Or words to that effect.”

I had read her copy of ‘Prometheus Unbound’ many times. “The last line reads something like, ‘When winter passes, can spring be far behind?’”

Her face bloomed like a summer rose. “Indeed, Michael; the calm after the storm, the annual rebirth of life. Perhaps spring will bring new hope.”

Release date, 24th May 2021

Characters in Jane Eyre and The Eyre Hall Trilogy #Histfic #amwriting

Meet the characters in All Hallows at Eyre Hall

All Hallows at Eyre Hall has seven main characters, Jane Eyre Rochester, Edward Rochester, Richard Mason, Annette Mason, Michael Kirkpatrick, John Rochester and Adele Varens, although there are about thirty-eight other secondary characters, 16 created by Charlotte Bronte, which appeared in Jane Eyre, and 16 characters which are unique to The Eyre Hall Trilogy.

I just love this image, sandwiched between Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Gaskell. You can’t get more Victorian than that!

 

Characters mentioned in Jane Eyre and All Hallows at Eyre Hall:

Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre, Richard Mason, Leah, Adele Varens, Bertha Mason, Dr. Carter, Mr Briggs, Mrs. Diana Rivers, Mary Rivers, St John Rivers, Captain Fitzjames, Mr Wharton, Mrs Alice Fairfax, Mr Fairfax, Mr Woods.

Note: Jane’s Aunt Reed and cousins Georgina and John are briefly mentioned, but they do not appear in All Hallows (her Aunt and John died in Jane Eyre).

In any case, none of the original characters are exactly the same as they were in Jane Eyre, twenty-two years have passed, so their lives have changed and their characters have developed over time and they been recreated in my own imagination.

The following table will help you see this transition from Jane Eyre to All Hallows at Eyre Hall. 

Character In Jane Eyre In All Hallows at Eyre Hall
Edward Rochester He was the master of Thornfield Hall and the Rochester Estate. He was about forty years old and claimed to be a bachelor with no children. He’s about 65 and on his death bed. He’s still the master of the Rochester Estate and also of Eyre Hall. He claims to have only one son, John Rochester.
Jane Eyre She was a 19 year-old governess, who married her employer, Mr Rochester. She’s 42 and becomes a widow during the novel. She is a novelist and philanthropist, who is concerned with the well-being of young orphans and the education of children.
Richard Mason An English landowner who lived in the British colony of Jamaica. He was Bertha Mason’s brother (step-brother according to Wide Sargasso Sea) and he interrupted Jane and Rochester’s wedding, exposing him as a bigamist. He still lives in Jamaica, but he has squandered his family fortune and has returned to blackmail Jane, after Rochester’s death. He knows more of Rochester’s secrets, which are still unknown to Jane.
Adele Varens Mr Rochester’s 10-year-old ward, who was born and brought up in France. She was most probably Rochester’s illegitimate daughter, and her surname is Varens, like her mother, a French opera singer, who was Rochester’s mistress. She is a 32 year-old spinster, who is still living with Mr Rochester and Jane, searching for the love of her life and looking forward to meeting her mother who is living in Italy, before she dies.
Leah She was a young servant when Jane Eyre arrived at Thornfield. Mrs. Leah is the housekeeper at Eyre Hall. She is a spinster who is about Jane’s age.
Bertha Antionette Mason Mrs Rochester. She was Mr Rochester’s first wife, whom he locked in their attic claiming she was insane. She allegedly burnt Thornfield and jumped from the battlements to her death. She is mentioned as Annette Mason’s mother, whom she gave birth to while she was in the attic.
Dr Carter He was Mr Rochester’s private physician. He is still the Rochester family doctor, who currently  resides at Ferndean, Mr Rochester’s manor house. He is about Mr Rochester’s age. He has one son who is studying medicine.
Mr Briggs He was a London solicitor who interrupted Jane and Rochester’s first marriage attempt, at Richard Mason’s instance, and later informed Jane that her uncle had died and she had inherited his fortune. He is a solicitor who works in London and is employed frequently by Mr Rochester.
Miss Diana Rivers Jane’s cousin, whom she met by chance after leaving Thornfield. Diana and her siblings take Jane in when Jane is homeless and penniless after leaving Mr Rochester on finding out he was married. She marries Captain Fitzjames. She is Mary and St John’s sister. Mrs Fitzjames. She is married to Admiral Fitzjames. She employed Michael’s mother as a seamstress and took the orphaned Michael and Susan for holidays at her house. Jane met Michael and Susan on a visit to Diana’s home at Christmas. They have no children.
Miss Mary Rivers Jane’s cousin, whom she meets by chance and takes her in at Morton, when Jane is homeless and penniless after leaving Mr Rochester on finding out he was married. She marries clergyman, Mr Wharton. She is Diana and St John’s sister. Mrs. Wharton is a clergyman’s wife. They have moved to Wales, where he has found a good position. They visit Jane once a year, usually at Christmas. They are childless.
St John Rivers Mary and Diana’s brother. He is a clergyman. He proposes to Jane, but she rejects him. He leaves for the colonies in India as a missionary and never returns to England. He is only mentioned, but he has not returned to England and is still in India.
Mrs Fairfax Mr Rochester’s housekeeper whose husband was related to his mother, née Fairfax. She is only mentioned.
Mr Fairax He was a clergyman who was related to Mr Rochester’s mother, whose surname was Fairfax, thus Mr Rochester’s middle name was Fairfax. He is only mentioned, but a letter written by Mr Rochester to Mr Fairfax, shortly after his marriage to Bertha Mason, is an important document in All Hallows.
Mr Woods He was the local clergyman at the church on the Rochester Estate. He married Jane and Rochester. He is very elderly now, but he is still clergyman on the Rochester Estate church.
Captain Fitzjames He is briefly mentioned as Jane’s cousin, Diana’s, husband. He is now retired Admiral Fitzjames. Michael and Susan’s father died while on a mission on his frigate.
Mr Wharton He is briefly mentioned as a Clergyman who married Jane’s cousin Mary Rivers. He is briefly mentioned in All Hallows.

Characters which are unique to All Hallows at Eyre Hall:

John Eyre Rochester, Michael Kirkpatrick, Susan Kirkpatrick, Annette Mason, Bishop Templar, Mr. Greenwood, Jenny Rosset, Nell Rosset, Thomas Rosset, Simon, Beth, Christy, Mr Raven, Mr Cooper, Mr Tempest, and The Sin Eater, Isac das Junot.

****

Annette Mason. She was born in Thornfield Hall. Mr Rochester denies being the father, although he was married to Bertha Mason, who was locked in the attic, when Annette was born, so, if he is not lying, her father’s identity is, as yet, unknown.

Her uncle, Richard Mason, who had taken her with him to Jamaica, as a baby, brought her back to England to claim her birthright when Mr. Rochester was dying.

John Rochester. He is Jane and Rochester’s son. He is 21. He is studying Law at Oxford and he is engaged to Elizabeth Harwood, the daughter of a London Judge. Elizabeth is mentioned, but she does not appear in the novel as she is ill throughout the novel.

Michael Kirkpatrick. He is Jane’s faithful valet, who has been employed at Eyre Hall since he was fifteen, nine years ago. Jane met him at her cousin, Diane’s home and offered him and his sister, Susan, a job at Eyre Hall.

Susan Kirkpatrick,is Michael’s younger sister. She started working as a maid and is now teaching at the Sunday and Parish school, although she still lives at Eyre Hall.

Jenny Rosset claims to be s a widow with two young children, Nell and Thomas. She is about Jane’s age and she works at the George Inn occasionally and sometimes she works as a prostitute for wealthy clients. She knows some secrets about both Thronfield and Eyre Hall.

Mr. Greenwood is a widowed London poet who has been courting Adele. They have been exchanging letters for months and he has been invited to stay at Eyre Hall and meet Adele and her family. He has offered to marry Adele and accompany her to Venice to be reunited with her mother Celine Varens.

Simon is a clumsy servant at Eyre Hall. He is Mr Rochester’s valet.

Beth and Christy are two maids who work at Eyre Hall.

Mr Raven is the owner of the Rochester Arms, the only pub on the Rochester estate. The Sin Eater, Isac das Junot, is a mysterious, supernatural character who appears in every book of the trilogy when someone has died. He makes prophesies and scares the life out of most people who cross his path.

Mr Cooper is Mr Rochester’s accountant and Mr Tempest is the Undertaker.

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If you would like to know more about The Eyre Hall Trilogy, follow this link.

If you would like to know more about Jane Eyre, follow this link.

Would you like to know anything else about any of these characters?

For those of you who have read All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which is your favourite character, and why?

 

Last call for #KindleDeals ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’ #Free #AmazonBestseller #HistFic

Hi again! Sorry if I seem persistent, but this will be my last post reminding you that my novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, the sequel to Jane Eyre, and Book 1 of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, is free today, for the last day.

So, if you were thinking of purchasing it, hurry because  today is your last chance! Follow this link!

And here’s a less-than-one-minute video I uploaded on my Facebook Author page in which I tell you about the Trilogy and this promotion.

I’d also like to thank those of you who have already downloaded your free copy, because thanks to you, All Hallows at Eyre Hall has reached third position on Amazon’s Best Sellers for Historical Thrillers in the USA.

It has also reached second position on Amazon UK for the Victorian, Historical Romance category of free books, so I’m naturally thrilled.

In Spain it’s number one in Romance in English, right next to Jane Eyre, which is a real treat for my eyes!

I’m also thrilled that it’s in third position in Canada in Victorian Historical Romance, which is a wonderful discovery. I was in Montreal, some years ago and loved the city, but I have no friends there at all, so it’s a lovely surprise to know I have readers in Canada!

So, it’s been a really great promotion as far as visibility and publicity goes. Fingers crossed buyers will also be readers and hopefully reviewers!

It’s not easy being an Independent author, there’s a lot of work to be done which has nothing to do with creative writing, such as formatting,  promotion and marketing, but it’s also empowering to make your own decisions and control the process from writing the novel to reaching the readers’ kindles and hopefully minds!

If you’ve read it or are in the process of doing so, I’d love to know about your experience as a reader of All Hallows at Eyre Hall. 

And if you’d like to know more about the Eyre Hall Trilogy follow this link!

#HappyHalloween #FullMoon

I hope you’re all having a Happy Halloween, in spite of the restrictions in most parts of the world. There’s a 10pm curfew in Spain, where I live, so no partying this year.

In fact I’m staying at my mum’s house in a tiny village in the mountians of Cantabria, in the north of Spain, so it is very quiet here. It’s definitely a very different Halloween to the boistrous ones I’ve usually had at school and with my grandchildren.

English Teachers with a cauldron, preparing for their act! A few years ago!

But, on the other hand, there’s a full moon, and I have a spectacular view from my window!

I’ll have to wait until I get home, in a few days, to review my monthly goals and plan ahead, as I do on most full moons.

It’s also a special day for me as it’s the title of my first novel and the first book in the Eyre Hall Trilogy, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which owes its name to the fact that the action takes place on and around Halloween.

That’s why I usually have book promotions around this time, and as I’m an independent author, which means I’m a one-woman show, I do all the marketing myself, which is fun and empowering, but also exhausting and nerve racking!

I’ve done my first ever free promotion this year and I have no idea how it’s going to work out, but I’ll let you know next week.

By the way, in case you didn’t know, all the passion, suspense, secrets, betrayals, villains, and romance, in Book One of The Eyre Hall TrilogyAll Hallows at Eyre Hall, will be free for the first time on Kindle Deals, for five days only, to coincide with the Halloween Weekend, from 29th October to the 2nd November, 2020. So if you haven’t done so already, download your free copy now!

The most Spine-chilling character in The Eyre Hall Trilogy: The Sin-Eater #Halloween

The Eyre Hall Trilogy is a Victorian, Gothic Romance, and the three-part sequel to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.

The first novel in the series, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, is set on and around Halloween, 1865, in a mysterious, gothic mansion in Yorkshire. There are quite a few villains in The Eyre Hall Trilogy, but there is one enigmatic and ghostly character called Isac das Junot, The Sin-Eater.

Isac das Junot is a character of my own creation who appears at least once, making chilling interventions, in all the novels in the trilogy, but I did not invent the existence of sin-eaters.

Sin-eaters were real people who were summoned to the bedside of a dead person. This figure is thought to be of ancient, pre-Christian origin, although we know they were popular in Victorian times, especially in rural areas.

Sin-eaters were summoned to a dead person’s bedside by his family. They placed a tankard of ale containing a coin and some food, on the corpse’s body, which the Sin-eater ate and drank, symbolically taking with him the sins of the deceased, who was thus enabled to continue his journey to afterlife in a sinless manner.

Most Sin-eaters were poor people or homeless beggars, and although they were officially frowned upon by the Church, this macabre tradition was carried out in different parts of the British Isles, including Yorkshire and Wales, until mid-19th century. One of the last reported sin-eaters  was reported to have died in Shropshire, in 1906. More about sin-eaters here  and here.

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The following is an extract of the Sin-Eater’s arrival at Eyre Hall in Chapter XXVI of All Hallows at Eyre Hall.

Susan, one of the house staff, is narrating the episode.

As I returned into the hall, the heavy front door screeched eerily and a gush of chilled fog came flowing into the hallway. A pounding thump resounded and suddenly out of the dense cloud emerged a faint, dark shadow, which gradually solidified into a human shape, while a breath of frosty wind poured in and enwrapped those of us who were standing in the hallway.

“Mr. Rochester has sent for me.”

His grating voice echoed the words ominously. I heard frightful cries around me. Some of the guests ran into the adjacent rooms, swearing they had heard him say the words three times. Others said he was death, who had come to visit the just dead, and if anyone looked at his eyes they would be taken, too.

Within seconds everyone disappeared. I stood alone with him. His glazed eyes stared at the only person who had remained. Nailed to the ground, my back stiffened. His eyes had impaled me. My jaw dropped, as he added in a low, frosty voice, “I have a message for Mrs. Rochester.”

Someone shouted from inside a room, “No! He has come to take her with him.”

I plucked up the courage to approach him and speak, “I’m afraid Mrs. Rochester cannot see you, sir, but I will take your name, if you please, to inform her of your visit.”

His frozen features set on my face, and I noticed his eyes were red, all red, and his lips mauve. The rest of his face was a cemented gravestone carved with long creases down his flat cheeks, which looked as sharp as flint. His towering black figure was like an unearthly leviathan. My legs were shaking, and I would have run away had I not decided I had to protect Mrs. Rochester from the omen of death.

Disquieting words rang out of his lips, “I am the Sin-Eater. I have come to bestow the wisdom of my ancestors upon the cadaver that is laid in this house, so that he may not become an undead.”

I was speechless, motionless, and breathless, as he continued with his foreboding address, “Time is short. His evil deeds have chained him to this world to roam and torment the living until the Last Judgment. I must see him today, or he will never rest, and his soul will wander in anguish around this house and his loved ones.”

Who was this unearthly monster? What did he want? What could I alone do to fend him off?

His threats persisted, “I must see Mr. Rochester immediately, or leave his soul to roam in this house until the Day of Judgment.”

I forced myself to breathe in and managed to raise my right hand up to my neck and clutch the tiny cross hanging from a gold chain, the only possession I owned, and mustered all my strength to reply feebly, “Please leave, sir.”

Miraculously, he walked backwards towards the door, gradually devoured by the persistent fog that had accompanied him like an entourage.

“Stop, sir!” I turned to see Simon’s distraught face run up from behind me. I had not seen him during the episode. Someone must have run downstairs and informed him of what was happening.

“Please, wait. I will inform Mrs. Rochester of your presence. Your name, please, sir?”

“Mr. Isac das Junot, from the Netherlands.”

The figure became larger again, as it walked forward, appearing even taller than before. I noticed he wore no hat and his slimy jet black hair was pressed down with a wide middle parting and tied back into a short greasy pigtail.

“Please wait here in the entrance.” The intruder nodded, as Simon continued, “You will be eating and drinking later, I expect.” The unearthly visitor smiled, showing a fistful of teeth, which were as black as his hair.

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Mrs. Rochester finally agrees to Junot’s macabre ritual, in spite of the opposition of her friends and family. I’ll post an extract tomorrow.

Why would rational and Christian Jane, acquiesce to such a disgusting ceremony?

There is a simple answer. The Sin-eater not only saves the dying from hell, but also from wandering the earth as a ghost, thereby performing a service for the living as well.

Jane knows her husband has died without confessing his sins or repenting to a religious authority, and she is not willing to take the risk of having him haunt her beloved Eyre Hall.

However, Junot is much more than a sinister or pitiable Sin-eater, he is not at Eyre Hall to receive charity, and during his brief visit, he does a great deal more than absorb Rochester’s sins, but I can’t include any spoilers to my own novel!

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Follow this link If you want to know more about The Eyre Hall Trilogy.

Passion, suspense, secrets, betrayals, villains, and romance, Book One of The Eyre Hall TrilogyAll Hallows at Eyre Hall, will be free for the first time on Kindle Deals, for five days only, to coincide with the Halloween Weekend, from 29th October to the 2nd November, 2020.

#Onthisday 29th October Chapter One of The sequel to #JaneEyre ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’

Chapter 1 of All Hallows at Eyre Hall takes place on the 29th of October, 1865, with Richard Mason’s visit to Eyre Hall. Here’s an excerpt from this chapter. 

Chapter 1- Mr Mason

29th October, 1865

I stepped out of the carriage onto the soggy gravel, adjusted my cloak and hat, and looked up to the rebuilt mansion for the first time.

 Twenty-three years had passed since my last visit to another house in this same spot, when I was bitten by a raging lioness fighting to preserve her offspring and her reason. My bones shivered. My sister had been wronged, my niece had been wronged, and my mission was to settle the injustice before the funeral.

The sharp smell of burning coal reminded me that there were fireplaces in this gloomy, damp climate, in which I could not envisage my ancestors ever having lived.

My eyes travelled up to the top floor and tower, wrapped in a vaporous cloud, and down again to the ground floor casements, which rose from the ground, symmetrically sliced into squares, standing out like prison bars. I could sense the witch was there watching me. I fancied her slight shadow floating over the curtains, and imagined curious fingers pulling back the heavy dark fabric in an effort to catch a glimpse of my arrival. I had received no answer to my message requesting an encounter, but I prayed she would be curious enough to converse with me.

I took an instant dislike to the sturdy valet who announced my visit. He had no business staring at me as if he were my equal when I told him my name and the purpose of my visit. His eyes bore into my back as I entered, instead of leaving at once.

The woman who was waiting for me looked exactly the same as the last time I had seen her, slight and ethereal, a trembling debutante underneath her pathetic white veil.

She slid towards me as if she were floating over the dark, Persian carpet, held out her hand limply and spoke.  

 “What brings you here, Mr. Mason?” She asked coolly.

It took me a few seconds to reply, taken aback by her unprecedented assertiveness and waiting for the defiant-looking servant to leave. I glanced his way and coughed, but he stood unmoved, like a guard dog, waiting for a sign from his mistress.

“I heard you finally became Mrs. Rochester.” I examined her carefully. She was still as pale and elflike as the last time I had seen her.

“Indeed. After your sister’s unfortunate death, Mr. Rochester and I married, as we both wished.”

She hadn’t fooled me then, and she wasn’t going to fool me now. I knew that her innocent expression was a facade which hid a determined and ambitious viper. “Not so unfortunate for you…”

“Have you come here to insult me, Mr. Mason? Because if that is the case, it will not be tolerated and I must ask you to leave at once.”

The valet took a step forward, his arms still, but his fists were clenched. Be careful, Richard, I reminded myself. She had employed over twenty years to enhance her wicked skills and now she had a guard dog.

“May I speak to you privately, madam?” I said looking at the impertienent servant. She was silent. Good. It meant that she was afraid of me, and she should be, but I would use her fear to my advantage, as soon as I could convince her to get rid of him.

“Pardon me, madam. It was not my wish to distress you. I merely pointed out that my sister’s sudden death made your marriage to my brother-in-law possible.”

I saw her left eyebrow rise slightly, and she blinked a shade quicker before replying.

“Have I wronged you in any way, Mr. Mason?”

Her complexion was pale and flawless, and although her look was stiff and almost expressionless, her smooth face was pleasing to look upon. “Indeed you have not, madam.”

“Did I not respect your sister’s existence and abandon Thornfield Hall as soon as I learned of her presence?”

“That is so, madam.”

Her thin crimson lips pursed as she tightened her jaw. Did she really believe she was innocent? Did she not see it was all her fault? She had killed my sister as surely as if she had thrown her off the buttery that tragic night. Bertha had been accused of setting the house on fire, but no one had seen her do it. They had also accused Bertha of committing suicide, therefore, her interment was without ceremony, and even so, I was not allowed to attend. It was all obviously a scheme set up by her husband to be rid of her. Edward would have done anything to be a free man and recover this enticing little sorceress.

“Can you or anyone reproach anything in my behaviour?”

I smirked as she insisted on her innocence and watched her scuttle away like a scared mouse. It was easy to imagine how they had both planned their revenge. He had rid himself of my poor, wretched sister, and she had returned to marry a widowed man.

I had decided that her curiosity by far outweighed her hatred of me, or she wouldn’t have agreed to see me. Or perhaps it was fear? In any case, I decided to play further.

“Indeed, Mrs. Rochester, you have done nothing reproachable.”

“Explain yourself, Mr. Mason. I have many matters to attend this morning.”

I had been informed by Edward’s agent that she had been attending to legal and financial matters in provision of her husband’s foreseeable death. Did she really think she was going to get away with it? Did she think that she, a plain and penniless governess, would inherit all his wealth and property, while he shunned and murdered my sister, who had been a beautiful heiress?

“Of course, madam. It is Mr. Rochester with whom I have matters to resolve.”

“Mr. Mason, you must be aware that Mr. Rochester is unwell.”

“It pains me to hear such news.”

“Allow me to doubt your sincerity on this matter.”

“Please, madam, accept my sympathy for your personal pain and your son’s.”

She shot a piercing look, moved her lips as if to speak, hesitated, then seemed to change her mind before finally speaking. “Your sympathy is accepted, because it would be unchristian to reject it.”

I envisioned the proud and uncouth Saxon who lay on his deathbed. I never understood what my sister or any of his women ever saw in his stocky figure or irksome character. I would no longer have to deal with him, thank God. She would be my new business associate, although she was not yet aware of our inevitable partnership.

“I am honoured, madam, that it should be accepted.”

“Will you now tell me what is your business, Mr. Mason?”

Did her lips curl slightly? Was she so easy to entice? Or was I being enticed? Her face did seem most pleasant, especially when the vexation ceased. I insisted more mildly on this occasion. “I have some urgent business with Mr. Rochester.”

“He is not receiving any visitors at the moment.”

“Yet, I must speak to him.”

“That will not be possible. In any case, I cannot imagine what business you should have with my husband.”

She had been suitably lured and was eager to discover the reason for my visit. “I would not wish to bother you with certain unpleasant matters, madam.”

“I am afraid you will have to deal with me from now on, Mr. Mason, so proceed.”

‘They are private matters,’ I added, glancing once again at her sentinel, who was still ready to pounce.

I wondered how much she had already discovered about her husband’s finances and offences. He was a dark horse, if ever there was one.

‘Thank you, Michael,’ she smiled at her watchdog, who unclenched his fists and took a step backwards. ‘Could you ask Beth to bring us some tea, please?’

He nodded and left, not without shooting me a threatening stare. How dare he? Who did he think he was? I would be dealing with his insolence shortly. Little did he suspect his days at Eyre Hall were numbered.

“Please sit down, Mr. Mason.”

She pointed to two high-backed Regency chairs on either side of a red teak table. Dark. In spite of the rebuilding and modern furnishings, the house was as gloomy and distasteful as the last time I had seen it while my sister still lived. It was so different to my bright colonial mansion, where one could drink iced lemonade in the mornings and dark rum in the evenings, on the verandah, inhaling the ocean breeze.

Despite the unfortunate and occasional insurrection of the local slaves, now called workers, who were usually pleasing and compliant, it was far more beautiful than this dreary land would ever be. For a moment I imagined pale, petite Jane in a colourful colonial dress revealing ample cleavage, her hair free and carelessly caressing her bare shoulders, smiling and twirling while carrying a parasol to keep the sun out of her flushed face. She would make a splendid widow. I wondered how soon she would remarry after the sick beast’s death.

“Thank you, madam.”

Mrs. Rochester sat as far away as she could on the other side of the table. “Please continue, Mr. Mason,” she said as she smoothed her pale blue day dress with her petite, gloved hands.

“The matter is pertaining to his first wife, my sister Bertha Antoinette née Mason and died Rochester.”

“The lady died twenty-three years ago, sir. There can be no further matter to discuss.”

“Oh, but there is, madam, and a very serious one indeed.”

“I trust it is not a financial matter, Mr. Mason. My husband and I have nothing more to discuss with the Mason family in this respect.”

“I’m afraid you do, madam.”

“You tire me with your games. Explain yourself once and for all or abandon my house.”

Perhaps I should speak. I wondered how she would react. Would she faint? Or have a hysterical fit, as most women would due to the inferior size of their brains? Might she call the constable and have me arrested? Or call her stalwart servant to throw me out of the house?

“Mr. Mason, whatever agreement you may have had with my husband will have to be authorized by me henceforth.”

“Mr. Rochester has broken an agreement we had. There is the matter of a certain sum of money that has not been received in the last few months.”

“Indeed? I have been supervising Mr. Rochester’s finances, and I do not recall your name on any of the transactions.”

“I have been informed that you have cancelled a transfer to Spanish Town, Jamaica.”

“That is so, to the Convent of Saint Mary. We are Church of England, sir. I cannot imagine why my husband should continue sending money to a Roman Catholic convent in Jamaica.”

“Did you not ask your husband about the matter?”

“Indeed I did.”

“Did he not tell you that you were to continue making the payments after his death?”

“He did not. He told me it was an old matter dating from his youth, and I needn’t carry his burden any further.”

“Is that so? I cannot understand why he should act in such a dishonourable manner.”

She surprised me by suddenly jumping up from her chair and rushing to the door. I got up immediately, wondering what she was going to do next. She spun around and spat out the words.

“How dare you speak to me of honour? My husband is the most honourable man I have ever met.”

“Your loyalty is touching, madam. You have been wronged, as my sister was before you. Mr. Rochester is not, has never been, an honest man.”

“I beg you, order you, not to speak of my husband disrespectfully in his own house.”

Her voice had gradually risen during our last exchange. I smiled in the security right then that my news would destroy any illusion of happiness or ounce of tranquillity she might have had in her years with Rochester.

“I doubt you will be of the same opinion when I tell you the reason for my visit. I do not wish to distress you, madam, but what I have to say may trouble you.”

She covered her face with her hands. “Why do you always bring me such bad news?”

“I humbly ask your forgiveness before I convey the tidings I must bring you.”

I revelled in her tortured frown and devastated sigh as she returned to her seat.

She straightened and looked away from me, absently caressing the folds on her dress, once more. “To the point, if you please, Mr. Mason.”

“There is someone Mr. Rochester must see before he dies.”

“No more games. You are to leave. My husband will not be molested by anyone in his final moments.”

“Not even by his daughter?”

“Who?”

She paced towards the window, breathing heavily. I could not see her face, but her shoulders were hunched, and she seemed to be trembling. I wondered if she might be crying and waited a few minutes before continuing.

“She would like to meet her father before he dies.” I said the words I had come to say slowly and softly. I wanted to make sure she heard them clearly.

We both heard the instants pass, as the small steel second hand ticked around the inner circle of the long clock standing majestically between the bay windows. Her eyes were fixed on the watery pane. Abruptly she straightened her back and lifted her head, as if she were looking for something in the sky. It was a damp dismal morning, and the cloud-burdened sky loured heavily above the laurel orchard. Her palms repeated the ritual of smoothing her dress, and then she spun around towards me, surprisingly composed after her initial shock. She spoke slowly and resolutely.

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All Hallows Museum

Passion, suspense, secrets, betrayals, villains, and romance, Book One of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, will be free for the first time on Kindle Deals, for five days only, to coincide with the Halloween Weekend, from 29th October to the 2nd November, 2020.

Make sure you download your copy today!

Readers are invited to rediscover the mystery and magic of a Victorian Gothic Romance set in Eyre Hall, the mansion Jane Eyre rebuilt after her marriage to Edward Rochester.

This breathtaking trilogy chronicles the lives and vicissitudes of the residents of Eyre Hall from the beginning to the height of the Victorian era.