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!

#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.

****

Download your FREE copy now, BEFORE 2nd NOVEMBER, to read the rest of the novel. International link to All Hallows at Eyre Hall! 

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.

 

‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’ The sequel to #JaneEyre is #Free on #KindleDeals #HistoricalFiction #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.

International link to All Hallows at Eyre Hall!

Passion, suspense, secrets, betrayals, villains, and romance, at Eyre Hall, in Victorian England.

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.

All Hallows Museum

All Hallows at Eyre Hall is Book One of the Eyre Hall Trilogy. 

Twenty-two years have passed since her marriage to Edward Rochester and while a mature Jane is coping with the imminent death of her bedridden husband, Richard Mason has returned from Jamaica to disclose more secrets and ruin her happiness once again, instigating a sequence of events which will expose Rochester’s disloyalty to Jane, his murderous plots, and innumerable other sins. Jane will be drawn into a complex conspiracy threatening everything she holds dear.

Who was the man she thought she loved? What is she prepared to do to safeguard her family and preserve her own stability?

Find out when you read All Hallows at Eyre Hall!

 

 

Why Writers should read ‘The Evening and the Morning’ by Ken Follett #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Ken Follett has just released his latest novel, ‘The Evening and the Morning’, which is already in bestseller lists all over the world.

The Evening and the Morning is an epic journey which ends some time before The Pillars of the Earth begins. It is set in 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is experiencing politically turbulent times without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns. The lives of three characters; Edgar, a young boatbuilder, Ragna a Norman noblewoman and Aldred, an English monk become entwined in a fascinating tale of love and passion, as well as cruelty and ambition.

My Review

Ken Follett is one of my favourite living authors, so I downloaded his book on my kindle and my as an audio book on Audible on the 15th September, the very day it was released.

I read and listened alternately, and I can say it is as brilliantly written and carefully plotted as his previous novels in the Knightsbridge series. It also includes the compelling characters and fabulous stories which his delighted readers enjoy so much.

Ken Follett makes his stories come to life in such a way that millions of readers all over the world are suddenly finding events set in the middle ages, in pre-Norman England and Normandy, fascinating.

It’s exciting, romantic, dramatic, tragic, hopeful, and ultimately a joy to read. So, if you read or listen to one book this autumn, make sure it’s The Evening and the Morning’.

****

 Why Writers should read Ken Follett’s Novels  

It is a well known fact that anyone who wants to be a writer should read a lot, but it’s not enough to be a normal or passive reader. William Falukner summarised it in this quote:

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read!”

Writers are a special type of reader. We dissect other writers’ work and in order to learn their craft. Every book I read is a Masterclass on writing. Many hours and months of hard work have gone into producing a novel, three years, in fact, if you’re Ken Follett, so it’s worth analysing their craft with a view to improving my own writing.

I strongly urge anyone who wants to write a good novel to read Ken Follett’s novels, all of them, if you haven’t started yet, his latest novel, The Evening and the Morning, is one of my favourites, so far.

I also suggest you watch or read his interviews and advice for writers to learn from one of the contemporary masters of literature. Here’s some advice based on his own writing process 

Ken Follett official.jpg

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading about Ken Follett’s writing process.

  1. Write your outline: Plan, plot and research carefully before you start your first draft, including plot and character arcs.
  2. Style: Write clear, transparent prose.
  3. Push your characters: Continuously raise the stakes.
  4. Think about your readers, you’re writing for them. Make every scene as compelling as possible.
  5. Check pacing: Make sure there’s one turn or twist every 4-6 pages, but not more than one.  
  6. Write your first draft and get feedback from readers, such as friends, experts, an editor, agent, etc.
  7. Rewrite your novel, yes, the whole thing all over again! Incorporating any changes or suggestions you decide would improve your novel.

Seven things I’ve learnt from reading Ken Follett’s novels.

  1. Hook your readers with a jaw-dropping beginning.
  2. Set the pace, the setting, themes and introduce at least one of the main characters on page one.
  3. Write every chapter, page, paragraph, sentence and word, thinking of improving your readers’ enjoyment and understanding of the novel they’re reading.
  4. Keep the action coming. Add a twist or turn every few pages to keep readers invested in your story.
  5. Create engaging characters who are honest, passionate, and proactive.
  6. Make sure there are plenty of adversities and villains to make life hell for your main characters.
  7. Make sure your characters are resilient and resourceful enough to finally overcome all the adversities life throws at them.

Finally, here’s an extra one for encouragement, never give up, keep writing and improving your craft. Ken Follett wrote ten novels before his eleventh, The Eye of the Needle, became a bestseller.

Who is your favourite author and what has he/she taught you about writing?

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘K’ is for Lisa Kleypas @LisaKleypas ‘The Ravenels and The Wallflowers’ @Scribd #HistoricalRomance

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I love novels set in Vicrorian England and I enjoy reading romance, in between psychological thrillers and literary fiction, and I’ve found the perfect combination in Lisa Kleypas. She has written various series of historical romance, set in 19th century England, such as The Ravenel Series of four novels and The Wallflowers of five novels. In her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughter, The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers!

Lisa is ranked #10 bestselling kindle (US) author of historical romance, and the reason is she writes engaging and entertaining, well-written historical romance. On this occasion, I’ve listened to her  novels on Scribd, but they’re also available on Audible.

Lisa Kleypas

All her novels are standalones, but if you read them in order, it leads to a better reading experience, because the characters are related, either by family or friendship, so characters in previous books will appear in later titles.

I’d recommend you start with the first Ravenel book, published in 2015, which is also one of my favourites. By the way, aren’t those covers beautiful?

Cold-Hearted Rake audiobook cover art

Hello Stranger, published in 2018 is my favourite, perhaps because it was the first one I read and then I made my way back to the first three books in the series!

The female lead in Hello Stranger, Dr. Garrett Gibson, is a woman ahead of her time. She’s the only female physician in England, and is making herself respected in a man’s world. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, daring and independent. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. They are both drawn into dangerous plot against the government.

Hello Stranger audiobook cover art

Her latest novel, Devil’s Daughter, is the delightful story of a widow with two young children and a reformed rake.

Devil's Daughter audiobook cover art

Lisa Kleypas’s historical novels have all the ingredients for an exciting and entertaining journey into Victorian England. The novels are well researched and plotted, with engaging heroes and heroines. Readers will visit Victorian London, from the dark alleyways and slums, gentlemen’s and gaming clubs, to stately town houses and horse rides in Regents Park, as well as travels to country estates. There are villains, rakes and other evil characters who battle against her main characters. You can also look forward to plenty of (unstressful) suspense, in spite of expecting a happy ending, because the journey towards the grand finale is so enjoyable.

Lisa Kleypas, like Jane Austen, is well aware that in 19th century England, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” And just like Jane Austen, that’s what she writes about, except in Kleypas’ case, the novels are more about assertive women fighting for love matches and independence in a world of marriages of convenience and gender inequality.

Most of her novels are read by Mary Jane Wells, who does all the accents and genders very nicely, although, as always, I would have prefered at least two narrators, for male and female voices, but I enjoyed listening to all of them as they are.

****

Lisa Kleypas’ novels are especially for readers who want an escape from real 21st century life for a few hours, and enjoy historical romance set in Victorian England, with strong-willed female leads who overcome obstacles on their way to a happy marriage. A delightful indulgence!

Lasa Kleypas’s Audible Author Page

Lisa Kleypas’s Scribd author page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks!

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘F’ is for Ken Follett @KMFollett @Audible ‘The Century Trilogy’

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with one of my favourite authors, the masterful writer of thrillers and historical fiction, Ken Follett, who has been writing engaging, literary fiction for over forty years.   

Ken Follett

If I had to save a trilogy from the last library in the world which was on fire, I’d save The Century Trilogy, and if I had to save just one book, it would be The Winter of the World.

 

The Century Trilogy (3 Book Series) by  Ken Follett

Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, make up the Century Trilogy. This Trilogy, is a tour de force, which narrates the main events of the 20th century, following the lives of five families in – America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales, who will gradually become interrelated, as the original characters and their descendents experience the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the struggle for Women’s Suffrage, the Second World War, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, The Race to Space, and finally the reunification of Germany.

I loved every word of The Fall of Giants. Every single sentence, paragraph and page is engaging. The characterisation is extraordinary. Every character, and there are plenty of them, has a unique appearance and personality. The plot is thrilling with plenty of drama and historical detail that make it an unforgettable read.

Winter of the World, my favourite, is a brutal and honest fictional account of WWII. It should be compulsory reading at High Schools, because the historical events portrayed affect the reader, much more than a set of facts in a history book or lesson. Let’s not forget what happened in order to be alert and compassionate and never let it happen again. Ken Follett illustrates the horrors of war as well as the goodness and self-sacrifice that we are capable of.

Although the writing is brilliant, I’m really glad I listened to the trilogy as an audiobook, because John Lee is the best audiobook narrator I’ve heard.

Lee does all the voices so perfectly that you know at once who is speaking, and there are five nationalities, with their own accents and different social classes, as well as male, female and children’s voices. The novels are lively and authentic due to the great deal of dialogue included, yet it’s no easy feat for the narrator. Chapeau!

****

The Century Trilogy, is especially for readers who enjoy historical novels and dramatic family sagas, which explore political, social and personal issues through various generations.

Ken Follett’s Audible Author Page 

By the way, Ken Follet has a fabulous Author Webpage, which has ‘Writing Advice’. I’ve found it very inspiring and thought-provoking.

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Mogul’ and ‘Tycoon’ by @JoannaShupe #amreading #amreviewing

Thanks to a long weekend, an almost ten-hour car trip, and a few hours waiting in hospitals, visiting a relative, I’ve finished the Knickerbocker Series. I had already read books one and two, which I reviewed here last week.

Now I’ve completed book Three Mogul and Tycoon a novella.

I loved Mogul, and Tycoon was included too, as a bonus.

The novels are set mostly in New York at the end of the 19th century. The knickerbocker Club series includes strong-willed, independent women, and powerful men who pull the ropes in NY society of the time. Intriguing plots and plenty of twists and turns to keep readers turning pages.

Mogul is book three, but they can be read as standalones. A rich heiress, Lillian Davies, and a journalist who has worked his way up to become the owner of three major newspapers, Calvin Cabot, become involved in dangerous dealings with the Chinese Mafia, which leads to many exciting chapters.

It so happens that Lillian and Calvin had been married and later had their marriage annulled, sparks fly as they’re forced to work together leading and face their unsolved issues as they preserve their own integrity and that of the people they love.

It was wonderful to be immersed once again in 19th century New York and Joanna Shupe’s clever and enthralling story. 

Especially for lovers of historical romance, set in New York in the Gilded Age.

I also enjoyed Tycoon, my only objection being that it was too short! I would have loved to know more about the enchanting Clara Dobson, who grabs a stranger’s arm at Grand Central Station, in New York, pretending to be his wife, and asks him to help her. Fortunately for her, the man is Ted Harper, a gentleman, owner of one of the biggest banks in New York, and a member of the prestigious, albeit secret, Knickerbocker Club. On their two-day train journey to St. Louis, their mutual attraction will grow. Ted will gradually discover who she’s running away from and she’ll discover who Ted really is, too. 

A great short read for lovers of historical romance.

****

Knickerbocker Club Series buy links US

Knickerbocker Club Series buy links UK

****

Joanna Shupe has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. In 2013, she won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.

Follow Joanne Shupe on Twitter 

Visit Joanna’s Web Page 

****

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

#AuthorSpotlight: Frances Evesham, #Author of ‘Danger at Thatcham Hall’

Victorian Crime Mystery 

Frances Evesham writes Victorian crime mystery. Danger at Thatcham Hall is her second novel. It takes us back to Thatcham Hall, the location of her first novel, An Independent Woman. Thatcham Hall ia a large country estate in Victorian England, where the reader will encounter more mysteries and romance.

Danger at Thatcham Hall pic

My Review

Danger at Thatcham Hall is easy to love if you enjoy well-written, entertaining, moving, exciting, and romantic, crime novels, set in Victorian England. It was easy for me to love. Victorian England is my favourite place, so it was a joy to spend several hours wandering around the English countryside, solving crimes.

On this occasion, there are two guests at the Hall, and a murder mystery to be unraveled, which endangers the lives of the residents at the Hall. Nelson is Lord Thatcham’s ambitious lawyer, who is a physically and spiritually scarred man, having experienced trauma at war and the betrayal of his fiancée. He meets Olivia, a strong willed pianist, who fears she may have to become a governess due to the constraints women faced when pursuing musical careers.

They stumble across a dead body, and Lord Thatcham asks Nelson to investigate the accusations against one of his staff. Nelson accepts the job and with Olivia’s help finally disentangles the mystery.

There are plenty of richly drawn characters including a villain, a spoilt child, the imposing Dowager, the lovers, a mysterious healer, villagers, farmhands, and servants at the Hall. The reader is submerged with the characters into daily life in Victorian England, including a visit to London.

Once again, the author shows expert knowledge of Victorian England, which she transmits wrapped up in an enjoyable parcel of mystery, action, and romance.

Danger at Thatcham Hall can be read as a stand-alone. The action in the first book in the series, An Independent Woman, revolved around Lord Thatcham and how he met his wife-to-be, Philomena. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more involvement of these two impressive characters in this second novel. Of course, it is no longer their story, but I came to like them enough to want to know more. If you have not read an Independent Woman yet, I also highly recommend it, too!

****

 

Frances writes historical fiction, as I do. It’s great to be able to chat with another author with similar interests as a writer. This is part of our virtual conversation.

Frances cropped

 

  1. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t usually read historical fiction to give it a try?

Imagine living in a world where everything is different: clothes, culture, food, manners and customs, but where people’s deep feelings are the same as yours.

Picture yourself as a servant, up at dawn to clean fireplaces, or a labourer working every daylight hour on someone else’s farm, or toiling in a dirty, noisy factory. Perhaps you’d rather be a member of the aristocracy, rich and envied, moving in a small social circle, but closely watched, terrified your slightest mistake will see you ostracised forever from society. How would you feel if you had to marry for money, were forbidden to own property or travel alone?

Falling in love, longing for happiness, struggling against the difficulties and barriers of a past time stopping you reaching your goals: would you sink or swim?

When you buy historical fiction, you travel back in time to that different world, letting modern day stresses and strains fall away from your shoulders as, for a few, precious hours, you belong in another vivid time and place.

I think this is a wonderful answer, Frances! I absolutely agree. One of the most exciting things a reader can do is travel in time. It’s somewhere you’ll never be able to visit unless a writer takes you there!

wpid-fb_img_1442908109900.jpg

 

  1.    Where did the idea or inspiration for Danger at Thatcham Hall come from?

It’s such a delight to pick up a story and lose all track of time, reading murders, mystery, history and crime. I devour Philippa Gregory, Agatha Christie and Robert Galbraith as well as the 19th century novelists, Wilkie Collins, Mrs Gaskell and the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and my all-time writing hero, Jane Austen.

Danger at Thatcham Hall lets me introduce Olivia, a women with a talent repressed by the social order of the day, to Nelson, a wounded, bitter soldier searching for his own place in society. They spar together, trying to solve a series of thefts and murder, each wondering whether the other can be trusted.

It’s a joy to indulge a love of spooky old buildings, deep, dark woods and gothic crypts, and meet old friends from An Independent Woman; Philomena, Hugh and his irrepressible son John.

We share the same favourite writers, Frances. Jane Austen, The Bronte’s, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens, are so much part of my literary mind, that I’m sure I’d be another person if I hadn’t read their novels! I certainly wouldn’t write what I write or the way I write. I feel so much respect for them that I constantly turn to them for inspiration.

 

3- Can you tell us something about your next project?
I have a third Thatcham Hall Mystery in progress, and I’ve also begun a new series of short, contemporary murder mysteries set at the seaside in Somerset, called Exham on Sea. I’m planning to bring out new Exham on Sea stories every 3 or 4 months, because they’re such fun.

Somerset makes a terrific setting, full of misty levels, miles of sandy beaches, and the ancient, atmospheric sites of Glastonbury Tor and Brent Knoll. My own town, Burnham on Sea, boasts the shortest pier in the UK and possibly the oddest lighthouse, with nine wooden legs rooting it in the sand.

That lighthouse features on the cover of the first story in the series, Murder at the Lighthouse. Libby Forest picks her way through the intricacies of small town relationships to uncover the killer of the town’s famous folk-rock star, Susie Bennett, helped by Bear, an enormous Carpathian Sheepdog, Fuzzy, the aloof marmalade cat and the unsettling, secretive Max.

Lighthouse.1

 

Somerset is a lovely part of England. I haven’t been there for a long time. I’m sure it’s inspirational. I’m looking forward to reading your short mystery, Murder at the Lighthouse, and your next instalment of the Thatchan Hall Mysteries.

The sea and coastal areas are no doubt an added stimulus for artists. The first two volumes of the Eyre Hall Trilogy are set almost entirely in Yorkshire and London, although the final chapter of Twelfth Night  at Eyre Hall, also includes a sea voyage to Jamaica and back. However, my third novel takes place in Yorkshire and Cornwall. I bet that surprised you! I can say no more…

 

  1. What’s your writing routine like?

I’ve just started writing in a standing position, with a raised desk, to counteract the effects of sitting in a chair all day. Of course, there’s new research out now, suggesting it does no good at all.

When I’m in the middle of a story, I hardly notice the time passing, because I’m lost in my fictional world. I’ve taken to setting alarms to remind me to get up and walk about from time to time. When I get to a knotty problem, or can’t see how my characters can possibly get themselves out of their latest mess, I go for a walk on the beach and eat ice cream. That usually does the trick.

I’ve never tried standing up while writing! I also forget to walk around while I’m writing, so my legs feel heavy and swollen sometimes. When that happens, I usually go for a walk, too, but I think I’ll take some ice cream next time. Sounds like a plan!

I’ve had a great time answering your questions, Luccia, thanks so much for inviting me.

Thank you so much for coming, Frances. It’s been great having you.

That was fun!

****

Find out more about Frances:

Frances Evesham: Author of The Thatcham Hall and Exham on Sea Mysteries for readers who love Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Midsomer Murders and cosy crime

Her Website

Her Twitter 

Her Facebook

****

I’ll be doing Author Spotlights every Friday. I have quite a few lined up for the following months, but if you are an author and you would like to be featured, please let me know. I’m especially keen on featuring debut and independent authors. I enjoy all sorts of novels with engaging characters and compelling plots, especially romance, historical, mystery and suspense.

****

See you all next Friday for next weeks’ Author Spotlight.

Have a great weekend! Read a book!

 

 

‘Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall’ Available for Pre-order on Kindle

If you enjoy reading Victorian Gothic fiction, with plenty of romance, mystery, action, and suspense, you will love Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, the second volume of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, which chronicles the lives and vicissitudes of the residents of Eyre Hall from the beginning to the height of the Victorian era.

Twelfth Night 1

Following Edward Rochester’s death, Jane Eyre, who has been blackmailed into marrying a man she despises, will have to cope with the return of the man she loved and lost. The secrets she has tried so hard to conceal must be disclosed, giving rise to unexpected events and more shocking revelations.

Romance, mystery, and excitement will unfold exploring the evolution of the original characters, and bringing to life new and intriguing ones, spinning a unique and absorbing narrative, which will move the action from the Yorkshire countryside, to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica.

Excerpts from Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Romance:

I was convinced I would never see him again. I had tried unsuccessfully to expel him from my thoughts, but he was always there, haunting my dreams and slipping into my mind during the day.

Suspense:

The morning after Twelfth Night, I had planned to leave London and return to Eyre Hall. I was having breakfast by the hearth at the inn, when someone crept up behind me and sat down in the chair to my right. I looked down at his unsteady hands, fearing he wished me no good.
“Michael, I done it. I killed him.”

Gothic elements:

“Will you be responsible for Mr. Mason’s permanence in this house as one of the undead?” I roared impatiently.
“What is it you want?”
“To see the corpse and absorb his sins, of course.”

Mystery:

John stopped before a small casket which looked out of place inside a large niche positioned on the lower level, at the end wall of the vault, below Edward’s, and read, “Infant Eyre Rochester. May 1855.”
He smiled at me, “Do not faint now, mother. You are going to see your baby again, at last.”

Adventure:

Hours later, we were woken by a wild raging storm, which tossed our ship mercilessly like a seashell on the shore. My whole body was shaken and turned inside out. It seemed my entrails desired to escape the storm by tearing out of my body. I looked out of the tiny port hole and saw a huge mass of water and dark objects spinning like a whirlpool, and I was thrust back against my desk.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon International Link

Dressing Up for an Eventful Week

I don’t usually write diary-like entries to my blog, but today is going to be an exception, because I’ve had a strange and eventful week, which I’d like to share with all of you. A lot of work, fun, excitement, and dressing up has been going on…

wpid-img-20141023-wa0012.jpg

My daughter and granddaughter, getting ready for Halloween!

Sunday 26th was great! I spent the day with my daughter, her husband, and children at the beach, watching the new generation gradually take over. She used to be my little girl, but now she has two children of her own, a job, a car, a mortgage, just like most adults do…

In the evening, I wrote my blog post on The Truth about Halloween.

Monday was amazing. It was the official opening of the Academic Year at the University where I teach English Language part-time, so I dressed up with the Faculty of Arts (called Philology in Spain) Academic Dress, namely a black robe with a short light blue cape or hood, and tasselled cap (the cap is worn by those with a PhD). I had never worn this gown before, but I thought I’d do so at least once, so that I could show my grandchildren in the future… I did feel rather grand!

Waiting for the ceremony, tassled cap in hand!

Waiting for the ceremony, tasselled cap in hand!

UNED Opening Ceremony in Academic Dress

UNED Opening Ceremony in Academic Dress

On Tuesday, on my way to work, I literally waked through an exhibition, in the Orange Tree Patio in the Cathedral-Mosque in Cordoba, where I admired the sculptures, by a recently deceased, international, Cordoban artist, Aurelio Teno, He’s the one who designed and made the Don Quixote sculpture near the Kennedy Centre in Washington.

Quijote Teno

Don Quijote by Aurelio Teno. Kennedy Center, Washington.

Aurelio Teno Exhibition in Patio de los Naranjos, Cordoba.

Foto taken at Aurelio Teno Exhibition in Patio de los Naranjos, Cordoba, Spain.

I also wrote my blog post on Halloween Festivities in All Hallows at Eyre Hall.

On Wednesday I was busy working all morning and all afternoon, at school and college. We rehearsed Stop all the clocks by W. H. Auden, for a poetry recitation at the Halloween Festivities we’re organising at school.

In the evening, I went shopping for Halloween goodies such as hats, stickers, sweets, and ingredients for Halloween biscuits/cookies, with my grandson.

My grandson, the Wizard!

My grandson, the budding Wizard!

On Thursday morning, I made tons of cookies, for my grandson, my students, and colleagues, before going to work. I work afternoons-evenings evenings on Thursdays.

Scary Cookies made by me!

Scary Cookies made by me!

On Friday, we had our big event at school. I teach at an Adult Education Centre, although we have mostly young adults, under thirty. The three English teachers dressed up as witches, and performed the opening scene of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in English and Spanish. The students also read poems in Spanish and English, and a beautiful short story by Jorge Bucay.

English Teachers with a cauldron, preparing for their act!

My colleagues and I preparing the cauldron for our act!

Performance of the opening cene of Macbeth with the three witches.

Performance of the opening scene of Macbeth.

Afterwards, we ate all the cakes and biscuits we (students and teachers) had made for the occasion.

Halloween biscuits/cookies and cakes!

Halloween biscuits/cookies and cakes!

In the evening, I wrote my Flash Fiction Story for Flash! Friday, as I do almost every Friday.

This morning, Saturday, 1st November, I woke up to a wonderful surprise. This week, I had scheduled a special reduced price book promotion for All Hallows at Eyre Hall, and as a result of my diverse efforts by using Twitter, Facebook, Blog, word of mouth, some paid promotion on Masquerade Crew, and Ereader news today, I discovered had sold 183 books! More than I’ve sold since my book was published in May. I’m overwhelmed, and very excited.

All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The Breathtaking Sequel to Jane Eyre, has also managed to get into the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store ranking today in three categories!  Best Sellers Rank #26 on Sagas, #29 in Family Sagas, #41 in Historical Fiction. Overall ranking #727 out of over a million Ebooks! Not bad for a debut novel, which was self-published in May, 2014!

wpid-20141101_132324.jpg

I’m feeling really proud! Did someone cast a good spell last night? Am I dreaming?

Wow, what a week! Fortunately, they’re not all this exciting or busy, or are they?

My daughter and a friend.

My youngest daughter (at the back) and a friend celebrating Halloween in London, last night.

wpid-20141031_102050-1.jpg

What can I say? Dressing up runs in the family! We just love it!

 

By the way, All Hallows at Eyre Hall (international link) is on special offer all over the world for the next few days, £0.77 /$0.99 / €0.89. Please help spread the word. I still have a long way to go, but I couldn’t have got this far without your support. A big thank you!