AtoZ Blogging Challenge April 2022 #ThemeReveal #WritingMentors #MondayMotivation

My Mentors

Following the main blog’s theme: ACCOMPLISHING YOUR DREAMS, AND THE DUALITY OF 22. I’ve decided to write about my mentors, the people who have helped me accomplish my dream to be a published author since I started my blog in 2013.

These writers and speakers have enlightened me with their spoken and written words, in fiction and non fiction, as well as with their YouTube channels and podcasts.

Their spoken and written words have inspired me to follow my own writing journey and shown me to believe in myself by generously sharing their knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

They do not know it. But they are my mentors and I will always be grateful for their help. During the month of April, I’d like to share what they taught me in the hope that it will inspire and help you in your journey, too.

I look forward to sharing my posts and reading other participants’ posts, too, throughout April. If you’d like to join in follow the link on the image below.

Happy blogging! And Happy first day of spring!💖♥️

‘Snow Moon at Eyre Hall’ Chapter 28: Jane Eyre’s Return to Eyre Hall #BookLaunch

One of the highlights of Snow Moon at Eyre Hall, which was published yesterday, is Jane, Michael and Helen’s return to Eyre Hall after the traumatic events which occurred in Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, during which the three of them were separated and confined away from their home, Eyre Hall.

Jane was taken to Grimsby Asylum, Helen was sent to Lowood Institution, and Michael was imprisoned in the icehouse. Their ordeals led them to take refuge in a Beachill, a small seaside village in Cornwall, where they have started a new life.

Their return to Eyre Hall, in chapter 28, is an emotional experience for all of them, especially for Jane, who built Eyre Hall when she married Mr Rochester, with the money she inherited from her uncle, who had a winery in Madeira.

Chapter 28 – Return to Eyre Hall

Eyre Hall, February 1870

Jane

Huge white snowflakes whirled and fell on the thick snow already covering the lawns of Eyre Hall. I craned my neck to glimpse at the silver clouds sliding across the waning gibbous moon and the fragments of jet-black sky peppered with tiny sparkling stars.

Helen pointed to the ground. “Why has the snow got a blue glow?”

“It must be reflecting the light of the moon. If there was a new moon, the snow would be black,” I replied.

“I forgot it was so pretty. Max says it never snows in Beachill.”

Annette rushed out to greet us when she heard our coach. “Come inside quickly, there’s a frightful gale.” A young girl took our coats and said she’d carry our luggage upstairs to the new wing. “Tell Tomas to help you, Trish,” said Annette. “The trunks are heavy.”

We stepped into a drawing room ablaze with the furious burning of crackling wood. I gasped. It was just as we had left it.

“What’s wrong?” asked Annette.

I waved my hands in the air. “Nothing has changed.”

“Why would it? I love the way you decorated Eyre Hall, Jane. It’s perfect.”

I searched for the house I once lived in and imagined I would never leave. The furniture, the paintings, the candleholders, and chandeliers were identical. “And yet nothing is the same.”

Michael’s hands rested on my shoulders. “Shall I kindle the fire, mistress?”

I sighed. “It seems such a long time ago, Michael.”

“Eight months since we last came and fifteen months since we lived here,” he replied, but it didn’t matter how many days or months had passed, we had returned to a different place in another lifetime.

“I’m hungry, Mummy!” said Helen.

Seconds later, a tall young man with a sullen face and heavy eyebrows entered.

“Sorry, Mrs Rochester. I was taking the trunks upstairs. What do you need?”

“Thank you, Tomas. Bring us some tea, hot chocolate, biscuits, cakes, and ham sandwiches.”

As we ate, Annette asked us about our journey, James, Helen’s school, and the final chapters of The Orphan, but carefully avoided asking about our reason for coming. At last, Helen fell asleep on the couch and we were free to talk.

****

Jane and Michael’s reason for returning to Eyre Hall is the climax of Snow Moon at Eyre Hall and the Eyre Hall Series itself. As those of you who have read the series can imagine, it is related to Junot, the Sin-eater, Bertha Mason, and Mr Edward Rochester. The final secret Bertha left at Thornfield Hall will be revealed in Snow Moon at Eyre Hall, at last.

Read Snow Moon at Eyre Hall to find out Bertha’s last secret here. It’s on launch offer at 0.99 and you can also read it for 0,00 on Kindle Unlimited!

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall: Book Five of The Eyre Hall Series de [Luccia Gray]

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall is Book 5 of The Eyre Hall Series. I suggest reading in the following order:

Resurgam, An Eyre Hall Series Novella

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall

All Hallows at Eyre Hall

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Volume One of The Eyre Hall Series: a Box Set including these first four novels.

Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall

Midsummer at Eyre Hall (to be re-edited and re-published in autumn, 2022)

UK Link to The Eyre Hall Series

US Link to The Eyre Hall Series

International Link to The Eyre Hall Series

Subscribe to my newsletter for special offers, updates, and new releases here!

#BookLaunch Snow Moon at Eyre Hall #5 #TheEyreHallSeries #Histfic #JaneEyreSequel

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall is the fifth novel in The Eyre Hall Series, the exciting and intriguing sequel to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, including more mystery, drama, action, and romance, set in Victorian England.

In the latest addition to the series, readers will experience births and a christening, deaths, burials and exhumations, prophesies, curses, blessings, and restitution, revenge and betrayal, as well as love and altruism.

Jane’s son, John Eyre Rochester, and Annette Mason, Bertha Mason’s daughter, have married and taken over Eyre Hall and the Rochester Estate, after offering Jane a settlement (in Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall).

Jane, now Mrs Kirkpatrick, and Michael have moved to Cornwall, with Jane’s daughter, Helen, in search of a more peaceful lifestyle.

But they must decide whether to accept Mr de Winter’s offer and take over the running of his impressive home, Manderlay, and accept his son, Max, as their ward, after his father’s imminent death, or remain at cosy Primrose Cottage, where they lived as fugitives (in Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall).

Jane has fallen in love with Manderlay, but Michael suspects Mr de Winter and his magnificent mansion harbour even more devastating secrets than Eyre Hall.

Isaac das Junot, will revisit Michael to remind him of the Blood Moon Prophecy, which the Sin- Eater, revealed in Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, which is reaching its culmination. Jane, Michael and Helen must return to Eyre Hall and decipher the final secret from the attic at Thornfield Hall.

Expect hours of enjoyment, especially lovers of Victorian fiction and historical drama. At the moment it is on special offer at one dollar/euro/pound! Can you resist? And you can read this novel and the entire series free on Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon.com / Amazon UK / click here for worldwide link.

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall: Book Five of The Eyre Hall Series by [Luccia Gray]

Readers will have a more enhanced reading experience if they read the novels in the following sequence:
Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella
Blood Moon at Eyre Hall #1
All Hallows at Eyre Hall #2
Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall #3
Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall #4
Snow Moon at Eyre Hall #5
Midsummer at Eyre Hall #6 to be released in July 2022

What, you’re not sure if you’ll like the series? Why not try Resurgam: Am Eyre Hall Series Novella and prequel to the series, for an international link click here.

Happy Wednesday and Happy Reading!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘7 Lessons Learnt in 2022’ #amwriting #writingtips #January2022 #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!

The awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

7 Writing Lessons Learnt in 2022

1: Amazon KDP select is my best option at the moment.

I decided to go wide in summer 2021. I signed up with Draft2Digital, and although they are professional and helpful, I’m going back to working exclusively with Amazon. Going wide is not worth the extra work at this stage of my writing life and writing career. I have only sold six books, and it is probably my fault for not advertising with the other book sellers more actively, but I don’t have the time. I need to simplify my life and at the moment Amazon exclusive is my best and simplest bet.

2. A solid morning routine is beneficial for my life and my writing.

I used to get up at seven and go to work, but when I took early retirement in 2019, I had some difficulty adapting to a new writing routine. I had never written in the mornings, as I was working as a teacher. I used to write in the evenings and weekends. After reading The Miracle Morning for Writers in 2020, I decided to implement the routine in my new life. I’ve discovered that the first three hours of writing, from 7-10 are my golden hours. I’m more creative and productive.

3: I’m a plantser

I started out as a pantser. I had four clearly define characters and an idea and I started writing to see where the characters would take me. It was a wonderful experience. I had the time of my life writing my sequel to Jane Eyre and new characters and plot lines grew so much that one novel became and trilogy and then a series. However, I soon realised I needed a structure to tie all the strands, so I read plenty of books on plotting, which helped me structure and finish my novels. I recommend Save the Cat for Writers as one of the most useful and practical books on the topic. And I thought I had become a plotter, but it was just a phase!

Now I’d describe myself as a plantser. I start with a few characters and a conflict which I explore and when I have about 10,000 words and a good number of scenes, I write a loose outline, to help me stay focussed, and write. I allow the characters to drive the action and the outline gradually meanders, so I feel I’m exploring as I write.

4. The Eyre Hall Series will have many more installments.

I’ve written three new books and one novella in the series this year. I’ve also reedited three novels in the series, that means I’ve worked on seven books this year! So my morning routine is definitely working for me! I have lots of ideas to continue and expand the series even more. I’ve also planned other novels in the series and revised a contemporary thriller I had written a few years ago.

5: Writing is my lifesaver

Throughout these two difficult years of Covid plus numerous personal issues, writing has helped me wake up feeling optimistic and energetic enough to carry out a healthy morning routine, write, look after my family, make time for friends and hobbies. My novels have been my lighthouse in a dark, stormy sea.

6: I still love blogging

I’ve been doing more creative writing than blogging this year, but I’ve realised I don’t want to stop blogging. I enjoy having a little window to the world where I can be seen and heard, and interact with other bloggers. I hope to have more time to blog in 2022.

7: The more I read the better writer I become

I’ve been reading widely this year; fiction as well as non-fiction. I especially enjoy thrillers and historical novels, but I’ve also read science fiction, memoirs and non-fiction books this year. I’ve incorporated many books on personal growth which have helped me immensely. I’ve shared many of them in my #MondayMotivation posts. Everything I read helps me improve my craft.

What lessons have you learnt as a writer in 2022?

If you want to find out more about my novels check out my home page, and if you want to find out about my new releases and special offers, subscribe to my newsletter below.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here are six of my titles and covers in The Eyre Hall Series.
Book 5, Snow Moon will be published on 17th February!

My 3 Favourite #Christmas Novels #amreading

Around Christmas I love cosy evenings reading Christmas themed books, watching Christmas themed films, listening to and singing Christmas songs, trying out new turkey recipes, and sharing cosy and fun times with family and friends. 

My favourite activity is rereading or relistening to some of my favourite Christmas themed novels, like the three novels I’d like to share with you today.

Around this time of year, I always reread A Christmas Carol in the unabridged original version for myself and a children’s version for my grandchildren.

I use Dickens’ marvellous story to remind myself and my grandchildren that it is a time to rejoice, share goodwill, reassess the year that has passed, plan for the year that is about to begin, and realise that we have the power to improve our lives and the lives of others, if we take action in the present moment. Scrooge’s journey into his past, present and future in A Christmas Carol show the reader how both our past and our future converge and are ultimately controlled by our present thoughts and actions.

The ghosts teach Scrooge a unique and mind-blowing lesson: our thoughts and actions in this present moment have the power to change our past as well as our future. I encourage you to read or reread A Christmas Carol around this time of year, on your own, or with your children or grandchildren, because it reminds us to be compassionate and understanding with ourselves and others who are less fortunate, to reassess our past, consider our future, and take action in the present. It also reminds us Christmas is a time to enjoy ourselves, decorate our homes, eat, drink and be merry, value the people in our lives and show them our appreciation and love by sending cards, messages or gifts, or spending time together if we can.

My next favourite Christmas novel is Mr Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel de [Samantha Silva]

I loved every single minute of this novel. I read both the kindle and audio version, which was brilliantly read by Euan Morton. You can read this novel at any time of the year, but I’m really glad I read it around Christmas, which is when I always reread A Christmas Carol.

Mr Dickens and his Carol is a fictional account of the circumstances and events which led Charles Dickens to write the novella, A Christmas Carol. I’m not sure how much of the story line is real or fictional, but it doesn’t matter, because the story is so beautifully written, and the plot so brilliantly unfolded that as a reader I was convinced it certainly could have occurred in the ‘magical’ way the author narrates.

It is not a sentimental story, although there are, as with Dickens’ work, some sentimental aspects, which were naturally and elegantly woven into the story. I’ll be rereading, or relistening to it again next Christmas. It’s a real treat, especially for this time of year! And for readers who love historical fiction.

My Third favourite Christmas novel is a romantic novella by Mimi Matthews, A Holiday by Gaslight.

A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella de [Mimi Matthews]

A Holiday by Gaslight is a Victorian Christmas Novella which masterfully transports readers to 19th century England.

It deals with the courtship of the Sophie Appersett who comes from an upper class, but financially ruined, family, and Edward Sharpe, A London merchant, who wishes to improve his social prospects by marrying up, or so it would seem initially. Sophie is not prepared to marry for purely financial reasons, in spite of her father’s insistence, and breaks off the engagement. Both families spend the Christmas Holidays together in a final attempt to seal the match, with surprising consequences.

I loved the way Victorian society and values were cleverly exposed. Women, who were legally and emotionally trapped between their father sand their husbands, were fighting for a small meausre of autonomy, in a strict and uncompromising patriarchal society. The atmosphere of London and the country mansion was also well captured and portrayed.

A sweet Victorian romance with a happy ending, because Christmas is also a time to remember that love can overcome (almost) all adversity.

Which are your favourite Christmas themed novels? Let me know in the comments!

Inspiration Overload #Tanka #December in #Marbella

Tall palm trees watching
Sun sprayed starry sea
Rippling onto sandy shore
Tiny piece of paradise
Inspiration overload

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

I’m spending a few days by the beach with my daughter and grandchildren.

More pictures tomorrow!

‘Snow Moon at Eyre Hall’ Chapter 29 #Preview #Amwriting #Amediting

Good morning and happy Friday!

I’m struggling (we authors are always struggling, whether or not we’re established and famous!) with my final edits of Snow Moon at Eyre Hall, to be published in February 2022, and I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of the first paragraphs, about 280 words, of chapter 29 called Return to Eyre Hall.

8 am at my writing desk, in my tiny study with my three basic tools, my tea, my laptop and my creativity!

Chapter 29 – Return to Eyre Hall

Jane

Huge white snowflakes whirled before falling on the thick snow which covered the lawns of Eyre Hall. I craned my neck to glimpse at the silver clouds sliding across the waning gibbous moon and the fragments of jet-black sky peppered with tiny sparkling stars.

Helen pointed to the ground. “Why has the snow got a blue glow?”

“It must reflect the light of the moon. If there was a new moon, the snow would be black,” I replied.

“I forgot it was so pretty. Max says it never snows in Beachill.”

Annette rushed out to greet us when she heard our coach. “Come inside quickly, there’s a frightful gale.” A young girl Annette called Trish, took our coats and said she’d carry our luggage upstairs to the new wing.

We stepped into a drawing room ablaze with the furious burning of crackling wood. I gasped. It was just as we had left it.

“What’s wrong?” asked Annette.

I waved my hands in the air. “Nothing has changed.”

“Why would it? I love the way you decorated Eyre Hall, Jane. It’s perfect.”

I searched for the house I built and once lived in and imagined I would never leave. The furniture, the paintings, the candleholders, and chandeliers were identical. “And yet nothing is the same.”

Michael’s hands rested on my shoulders. “Shall I kindle the fire, mistress?”

I turned to face him. “It seems such a long time ago, Michael.”

“Eight months since we last came and fifteen months since we lived here,” he replied, but it didn’t matter how many days or months had passed, we had returned to a different place in another lifetime.

****

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall: Book Five of The Eyre Hall Series de [Luccia Gray]

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall is Book 5 of The Eyre Hall Series. I suggest reading them in the following order:

Resurgam, An Eyre Hall Series Novella

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall

All Hallows at Eyre Hall

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Volume One of The Eyre Hall Series: a Box Set including these first four novels.

Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall

Snow Moon at Eyre Hall

Midsummer at Eyre Hall (to be re-edited and re-published in June, 2022)

There will be a box set for books 4-6 and possibly another novella this summer.

UK Link to The Eyre Hall Series

US Link to The Eyre Hall Series

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates here!

Have a wonderful Friday and Weekend!

Why I love long car journeys #Mondayblogs

I travel across Spain from south to north about once a month. That’s over 800 kilometers, and I go by car. I could travel by plane or train, which is faster, but unfortunately it’s not practical and here’s why.

My husband and I stay at my mother’s cottage, in a tiny village which has 200 inhabitants. There is a tiny grocers, but there are no supermarkets, chemist, coffee shop, or any type of bar or shop.

It’s very cosy and peaceful. I come across cows, chickens, horses, or goats as I walk around the streets and nearby fields and country roads.

The problem is if I want to buy food, or anything else, sit at a coffee shop, or go out for lunch, I need the car as there’s no public transport between villages.

Also, my main reason for coming is to visit my mum who is at a care home in a nearby village. But again, I need the car to get there.

Of course having the car also means we can visit beautiful, secluded places literally in the middle of nowhere, as well as nearby large towns such as Santander.

Back to the delights of the eight hour car journey. I have my laptop, kindle, smartphone and tablet, plus tons of apps (audible, scribd, youtube, netflix, amazon prime videos, etc., notebooks and pens. So I’m never bored.

I have bottles of water and snacks, just in case, although we stop twice for a bathroom/coffee break.

I also enjoy looking through the windshield, watching the world go by, daydreaming, thinking, taking photos, and chatting to my husband.

Paradoxically, I find it liberating to sit in a confined space, free from mundane distractions and obligations. I’m with myself exclusively, while my husband is busy driving. I’m not a fan of driving myself. I prefer to do my own thing while he drives!

So, do you enjoy long car journeys? Tell me why or why not.

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘On Writing Book Titles and #Blurbs’ #amwriting #writingtips #November2021 #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!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

November 3 question – What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

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

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

On Titles and Blurbs

First On Titles

I start my novels with a specific idea which includes at least two main characters and some supporting ones, a place, a time, and a conflict. Once that’s a vivid picture in my mind, I start writing freestyle or if you like pantsing, until I get the feel of the characters and the story, which at the beginning is a jumbled mess in my mind.

I don’t think of scenes or chapters or plot points, or even the ending, I just write. Usually when I’m at 10,000 words, which may take about a week, I know if it’s a story I want to write, or I put it away just in case! (I have a hard time killing my babies!) and work on another one.

Once I’ve reached the point I’m sure I have the potential for a novel, I write an outline for the whole story, divided into scenes. I take a simple approach which works for me for overall initial plotting.

Basic elements of each scene: Who wants what, why, and what is the obstacle? How does it move the plot forward and/or what does this scene lead on to (i.e. what happens next).

At this point, if not before, I’m ready to select my title and start looking for a cover. Both things are intimately tied up for me. I print the cover with the title and put it up on my wall in my study, where I usually write. It gives me focus, motivation and joy to see my cover and title every day.

This is one of my favourite covers. It’s just perfect for my Novella, Resurgam. It was a ready-made cover (almost; I asked for Eyre Hall to be added in the background) by BetiBup, one of my favourite designers.

There’s a universal link if you click on the image. By the way, it’s a free gift if you sign up for my newsletter, link at the end of the post.

Now for the blurb

I write the blurb at the end and it’s much more difficult and stressful than deciding on the title and cover.

I have a structure for writing my blurbs, which I have developed over the years, and I usually stick to it.

When I write a blurb I follow this basic structure:

  1. Initial hook. A question to draw the reader in.
  2. Introduce the main character and make the setting/situation clear to the reader.
  3. One or two sentences about the conflict.
  4. Final hook. A hint at the solution with a question to entice the reader.

Here’s my blurb for Resurgam

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre (Initial Hook)

Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves, they have a son, and they live in a grand house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall. (MC and Genre/setting)

When Mary Anne Wilson, one of her best friends from Lowood Institution for Orphans, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news about their deceased friend, Helen Burns, Jane realises she must return to the orphanage where she has crucial unfinished matters to attend. (Conflict/Problem)

Will Jane find a way to keep the promise she made to Helen over fifteen years ago when she was a penniless orphan? (Final Hook: a question about the solution)

*****

I suggest you read as many blurbs as possible for your genre and others, to give you more ideas about how to approach writing your own. Here are two videos for more ideas: a great 8-minute video by Alessandra Torre which gives some good ideas, so does Joanna Penn here at The Creative Penn.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here are six of my titles and covers in The Eyre Hall Series. The last two are still in process!
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