Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Defining Success as a Writer’ #amwriting #September2021 #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 September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

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

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Defining Success as a Writer

Success as a writer will be unique to each author.

A writer’s perceived success will depend on the goals they set out to achieve as an author in the first place.

In my case, I wanted to publish a sequel to Jane Eyre that would include the premise of the prequel Wide Sargasso Sea, which gave Bertha Antoinetta Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, a voice.

I imagined a daughter, born in the attic at Thornfiled Hall, Annette Mason, who was rejected by Edward Rochester and taken to Jamaica by her uncle Richard Mason.

In Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Richard Mason returns to the Rochester estate while Mr Rochester is on his death bed. He brings his niece, Annette Mason, who is now twenty-two years old, with him, in order to claim her birthright.

Link to my UK Author page

The Eyre Hall Series (Amazon.com link) 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.

I imagined I would write one novel, then I realised it would be a trilogy, and now it has become The Eyre Hall Series of six novels (four already available for purchase and two more will be published in 2022).

And Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella will be available for preorder shortly.

My aim in 2013 was to write and successfully publish one novel, which I did, so mission accomplished. But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with my writing career in 2021.

Goals are not fixed, they are constantly being revised and expanded.

Now I have new goals, which I haven’t yet achieved, namely to complete my series. I’m fairly confident that by the end of 2022, I will have published the entire Eyre Hall Series,.

I also have plenty of other literary projects underway, such as a A contemporary thriller, which is finished and on the waiting list for a second edit and proofread. I have also started work on another series of non-fiction books called, you guessed it: Rereading Jane Eyre! But more about those future projects in the coming months.

I am determined to present readers with a polished novel, which has a professional cover, is well written, edited and proofread. I cannot expect all readers to like my novels; they are not for everyone, no book is.

My ability to market as an independent author is limited, but reaching international fame and fortune is not my primary goal, as I have my retirement pension and I’m quite shy.

I’m happy to write to my heart’s delight and produce a polished product I enjoyed writing and which I can be proud of. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m a successful writer!

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter 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.  

Thanks for reading! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Friday and weekend!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966), The Prequel which inspired the Sequel to Jane Eyre: The Eyre Hall Series

I would never have written The Eyre Hall Series if I had not read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I was about fourteen the first time I read it). Many of the characters and events in The Eyre Hall Series were inspired by Jane Eyre, however my main inspiration for writing The Eyre Hall Series was Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel to Jane Eyre, written by Jean Rhys in 1966 (I read WSS, many years after JE, when I was over forty, at the suggestion of my friend and colleague, Anne Gerd Petersen).

Check out my review on Goodreads

Wide Sargasso Sea tells us Bertha Antoinetta Mason’s story from her childhood in Jamaica to her tragic death at Thornfield Hall. It was Ms Rhys’s retelling of ‘the madwoman in the attic’s’ story which inspired my unique character, and one of the protagonists of The Eyre Hall Series: Annette Mason.

Annette is Jane’s antagonist in Blood Moon at Eyre Hall. She is the child who was born in the attic to Bertha Mason, rejected by Edward Rochester, and surreptitiously removed by her uncle, Richard Mason, to a convent in Jamaica.

The Eyre Hall Series would not exist without Annette Mason. Annette was inspired by Jane Eyre (Jane dreams she hears a baby in Jane Eyre, more information below), and created as a tribute to Bertha Antoinette Mason, a wealthy Creole heiress who was used and abused by Edward Rochester in both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. (Read my post about The Madwoman in the Attic here).

“But there was no baby in the attic in Jane Eyre,” you may say.

Only Grace Poole, Edward Rochester and Richard Mason knew what was happening, or who was in the attic for ten years, and none of them was a reliable narrator. The baby was not there the day Mr Rochester opened the attic and showed Jane Eyre, the Vicar and the solicitor who was inside, but that doesn’t mean the baby hadn’t been there at some point during the previous years.

There are two scenes in Jane Eyre in which Jane dreams of a baby and hears its cries while she is sleeping directly under the attic at Thornfield Hall.

Chapter XXI of Jane Eyre, starts like this:

Presentiments are strange things! And so are sympathies; and so are signs; and the three combined make one mystery to which humanity has not yet found the key.

Jane then tells the reader about her dream:

The past week scarcely a night had gone over my couch that had not brought with it a dream of an infant, which I sometimes hushed in my arms, sometimes dandled on my knee, sometimes watched playing with daisies on a lawn, or again, dabbling its hands in running water. It was a wailing child this night, and a laughing one the next: now it nestled close to me, and now it ran from me; but whatever mood the apparition evinced, whatever aspect it wore, it failed not for seven successive nights to meet me the moment I entered the land of slumber.

And in the following paragraph:

It was from companionship with this baby-phantom I had been roused on that moonlit night when I heard the cry; and it was on the afternoon of the day following I was summoned downstairs by a message that someone wanted me in Mrs. Fairfax’s room.

This does not mean there was a baby in the attic. In fact, Jane attributes the dream to her childhood, but then, Jane has no idea what is going on in the attic, does she?

Jane’s dream also means that my imagining of the baby in the attic is not a feverish or absurd delusion. The baby is a result of reading between the lines of Jane Eyre. It is an account of what could have occurred in that attic, where the first Mrs Rochester was held prisoner for ten years, while her husband was away most of the time, galavanting with mistresses in the continent.

When I started writing the Eyre Hall Series in 2013, I had four characters in mind. Three first appeared in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, namely, Jane Eyre, Edward Rochester, and Richard Mason. The fourth belongs to my imagination: Annette Mason.

Annette Mason is meant to be a tribute to her mother, Bertha Antoinetta Mason. Her uncle, Richard Mason, has brought Annette to Eyre Hall for his own devious purposes, but from this author’s point of view, Annette has come to reinstate and vindicate her mother and face her mother’s rival: Jane Eyre Rochester. How will Jane react to Annette’s arrival, twenty-two years after her marriage to Edward Rochester? Well, you’ll have to read The Eyre Hall Series to find out!

Why not start with Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One, and see if it’s for you?

You can read the first chapter on this blog post:

Find out more about Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here:

International link to Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here

What happened after Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester married? Find out in The Eyre Hall Series, Book One Blood Moon at Eyre Hall is out now! #FridayReads #BookLaunch

According to Orson Wells:


“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”


Jane Eyre ended with a wedding and HEA, but what would have happened some years after the wedding?


Jane mentioned that they had one child in Jane Eyre. Would they have had more?
Would Jane have become the lady of the grand lady of Rochester Estate?

Would she have worn the silk dresses and jewels Mr Rochester offered?
Would she have championed women’s independence in any way, as she did in her autobiography, Jane Eyre?
What about the poor, workhouses and institutions for orphans, would she have cared?
What would she have done with the fortune she inherited from her uncle John Eyre?
What about Mr Rochester? Would he have been the faithful husband he promised?
Would he have shared Jane’s concerns for the underprivileged?
After their honeymoon, what kind of a husband would he have been?
Were their backgrounds too different to lead to a happy marriage, or can love conquer all?

Nobody can know for sure what happened after Jane Eyre married Mr Rochester, but there are plenty of clues in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel written by Jean Rhys in 1966, to give us plenty of options.
The Eyre Hall Series explores what could have happened, but what do you think happened 22 years after their marriage?

Book One of the Eyre Hall Series, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, explores some of the avenues their marriage might have taken. It will be published on Sunday 22nd August.

You can download your copy on Amazon US here!

Amazon UK here

Amazon International link here

If you live in the US, you can apply for a goodreads giveaway here

You can also apply for an ARC copy at Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review here

And you can also apply for an ARC at Book Sprout in exchange for an honest review here

Important Message: If you have already read the original Eyre Hall Trilogy, you should read Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, Book 4 in the Eyre Hall Series, which will be published in October and will soon be available for pre-order. Any questions, just let me know in the comments.

And remember if you enjoy reading action-packed, historical fiction, set in the Victorian era, including romance, heartache, evil villains, engaging heroes and heroines, gothic and supernatural elements, pick up your copy of Blood Moon at Eyre Hall! Hours of enjoyment, for the price of a coffee!

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘My Favourite Writing Craft Book’ #amwriting #August2021 #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!

August 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox! 

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

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

My Favourite Writing Craft Book

When I started writing my first novel in 2013, I had read hundreds of novels and even taught literature to undergraduates, so I thought I knew all about writing. I had an idea, four main characters, a location in space and time, and I started writing ‘by the seat of my pants’.

Although I enjoyed the experience, I wasn’t able to finish the novel as I had started it, because I didn’t have a plan. I had no idea what a story beat was, or a character arc, etc. I had taught literature concentrating on style, themes, and context, not from the point of view of creative writing, so I didn’t have a clue.

I realised my handicap and started reading all manner of books on the art of writing, which you are all no doubt familiar with, and fortunately, one of them was Save the Cat.

Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by [Blake Snyder]

I was literally awestruck by the simplicity and clarity of the proposal which was definitely life-changing for my writing career. That said, I confess I have never followed it to the letter, but it opened my eyes to the elements of a dramatic story and showed me a way to structure my novel, which had become a rambling mess, which I couldn’t finish.

In 2018, Jessica Brody wrote a fabulous follow-up called Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which is a far better manual for novel writers, because the original Save the Cat is aimed at screenplays. Jessica Brody, adapts Blake Snider’s proposal to the novel with invaluable examples, checklists, ideas and inspiration to help writers with their first novels.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need by [Jessica Brody]

I soon developed my own writing strategy which still incorporates some of Save The Cat’s structure as well as plenty of other great books I’ve read and podcasts and YouTube videos I’ve listened to.

I visualise the main points of my novel before I start writing. Then I jot down my ideas in a summary and continue visualising it for weeks, until the whole story takes shape in my mind, as if it were a film. That’s when I write the scenes on cards. The structure tends to fall into three acts. I order the scenes chronologically and check that no scenes are missing in the story flow. Finally, I rewrite the summary and when I’m satisfied that I have a complete story, I write the scenes which are most important and clearest in my mind first.

Although I would never call myself a pantser, the final version is rarely exactly the same as the initial summary. New characters and scenes often appear and others are deleted or changed. I have a plan, which I use to guide and help me. I do not allow it to constrain my creativity.

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 and Snow Moon and Midsummer in 2022.

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter 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! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Wednesday!

Could you help me choose my book cover for Blood Moon at Eyre Hall?

Many of you know I already have a cover, which I loved, until I suddenly thought there was something missing, so I asked the designer to add a silhouette by a window, and at first I preferred it to the first cover, but I’m not sure anymore.

This is the original cover:

And here is the new image:

Which one do you prefer?

Thanks for your help!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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

 
Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

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. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is simple-stay-in-bed-facebook-cover-1.jpg

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.