Ghost Wife: From Inspiration to Publication #Romanticsuspense #Gothicromance

Image Jordan Singh on Pixabay

I wrote the first version of Ghost Wife between June and September, 2017, five years ago. I wrote the first draft in four months, and I’ve been rewriting it, on and off, ever since. The initial idea and characters has remained constant throughout, although the novel has undergone many revisions and minor changes along the way until it developed into the final version which I have just published on Amazon kindle.

These are the facts, but they don’t reflect the reality of my writing process. The initial idea for Ghost Wife took root 50 years ago, and it has been growing since then.

Real Timeline

Initial Inspiration: The Seeds

  • My fascination with Jane Eyre started when I first read it in my teens and watched some film and TV series.
Orson Welles as Rochester with Joan Fontaine as Jane in Jane Eyre (1943). Image Wikipedia.
Theatrical poster for the American release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Rebecca.
  • Some years later, I read Wide Sargasso Sea the prequel to Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys, which led to a rereading and reinterpretation of Jane Eyre
  • Later I taught Postcolonial Literature at the University of Córdoba, between 2009 and 2014. One of the themes I lectured on was a comparative analysis of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso sea from a feminist and postcolonial perspective. I wrote a chapter in Identities on The Move (2014), titled Sexuality and Gender Relationships in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. If you’d like to read it, just let me know in the comments.

Stage Two

An Author is Born: The Writing Begins

  • In the summer of 2013 I started writing All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which was first published in 2014. It is the sequel to both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, because my sequel builds on the plots and characters in both novels. The original Trilogy was completed in 2016.
  • The idea of writing Ghost Wife, a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre started taking shape in 2017. I wrote the first draft between June and September. It was the bare bones of the novel in about 40,000. By the end of the year, I had written about 80,000 words and over the next two years it underwent many revisions.
  • Following a conversation with my editor, Alison Williams, I realised The Eyre Hall Trilogy should become a series and between 2020 and 2022, I wrote Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, which was the new Book One in the series, I revised All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which became Book Two, and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, which became Book Three, and I wrote and published Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, which is Book Four and Snow Moon at Eyre Hall. which is Book Five. Midsummer at Eyre Hall, which will become Book Six, has not been republished yet, as I am in the process of revising it. I have also written the novella, Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella. More information about the Eyre Hall Series here.
  • Meanwhile, I decided to revise Ghost Wife yet again, and I sent it to two editors, and one beta reader in 2021-2022. I finally published Ghost Wife a few days ago, on 13th July 2022. More about Ghost Wife here

Stage Three

Reviews, Paperback, and Marketing

Now Ghost Wife is free from the confines of a folder on my computer and it is lodged out on a massive cloud on the Internet, called Amazon, for readers to like, dislike, criticise, praise, or ignore.

I’ve had plenty of doubts along the way. I enjoy writing historical fiction. I had never thought of writing a contemporary novel, and yet I’ve enjoyed the challenge and the process.

That said, I’m going to admit I almost didn’t publish it because of my insecurities, but in December 2021, I decided that this year, my word of the year would be ‘Dare’; Dare to dream, Dare to step out of my comfort zone, Dare to write what I want to write and publish it, so that’s what I’ve done!

I’ve published the kindle version, but there’s still a lot more to do. I hope to have the print version ready by the end of the summer, and I have the daunting chores of marketing to look forward to. I’m planning on booking blog tours, social media posts, and hopefully getting some help from friends, readers, and fellow bloggers.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy reading contemporary romantic suspense, with a gothic setting, I’m sure you’ll love Ghost Wife, and it’s only 0.99!

International buy link for Ghost Wife

International Amazon Author Page

‘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

‘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!

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!

Happy #Halloween 2021! To celebrate All Hallows at Eyre Hall Book Two in #TheEyreHallSeries is #0.99 only today!

.

All Hallows at Eyre Hall was the first novel I wrote and published, although it is now book Two in The Eyre Hall Series, so it is very special for me. It takes place, as the name suggests on or around All Hallows Eve (Halloween)

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

Twenty-two years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane is coping with the imminent death of her bedridden husband – and the revelation of his unspeakable secrets.

Richard Mason has returned from Jamaica, instigating a sequence of events which will expose Rochester’s disloyalty to Jane, his murderous plots, and innumerable other transgressions.

Drawn into a complex conspiracy, everything Jane holds dear is threatened. Who was the man she loved? What is she prepared to do to safeguard her family and preserve her own stability?

All Hallows at Eyre Hall is Book Two 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.

This is a revised edition of All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which was first published in 2014.

Happy Halloween and Happy reading!

Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall Chapter One #BookLaunch #Histfic #JaneEyreSequel

Chapter 1 – Abodes of Horror

Grimsby Retreat, 16th December 1867

Jane

Please, Lord, do not let me lose my mind in this dreadful place. Help me preserve my sanity. I must return to Michael and Helen at Eyre Hall. I have been removed to this terrifying house in a fraudulent manner, deprived of my freedom, and caged in an infernal cave like an animal.

I was dragged to this disturbing place and ensnared in a cage twelve nights ago by a group of armed men who barged into Eyre Hall while I was alone. I resisted, but they forced me into a carriage and brought me here in the dead of night. I do not know where I am, except that it is over four hours’ drive from home.

I have been maliciously confined, and even if I managed to escape, I do not know in which direction I should flee. There are thick woods to the north, east and west, and I have no idea what lies to the south, as I have not yet seen that part of the house or grounds. Although I have only been here for a short time, my captivity is already proving unbearable.

My first days were distressing. I was not allowed to wash or wear clean clothes. They said they were waiting for my trunk, but I told them I did not want a trunk, because I wanted to go home, and they brought me a grey flannel dress, which was so long that the skirt dragged along the floor and so coarse that it scraped my skin like sandpaper.

When I asked Mrs Mills, the person who seems to be in charge of us, if I could wash, she laughed and said the showers were only for those who caused trouble. I was given a basin and some cold water; no soap or ointments. My face was dry and my lips were parched, so I asked for the toiletries I was accustomed to using, and that was when I discovered where I was. Mrs Mills laughed again and told me it was not a guesthouse, but an asylum for the mentally insane.

I was shocked when I heard the sinister nature of my abode of horror. Why had I been removed to this mansion of despair? Could it be a nightmare conjured up by my wondering mind? How could I suddenly find myself in this sea of misery and madness?

My first visitor had been a tall, angular man with a sallow face and weary eyes who said his name was Dr Stevens.

“Where is Dr Carter? He is my doctor.”

He made some notes in a worn notebook and sighed. “I am a special doctor for people who have your particular type of malady, madam.”

“Thank you for your visit, Doctor, but I assure you I am not ill. However, I am missing my home and my family.”

He looked up with a brief smile which didn’t reach his eyes. “We can start there to ascertain your health. Who exactly are you missing?”

“Michael, my betrothed, and Helen, my daughter. I miss them terribly.” I used the damp handkerchief in my hands to wipe away fresh tears, but I breathed in deeply and made sure I kept my composure.

 He pursed his lips and wrote more words in his notebook. “Fabrications, madam.”

“I don’t understand, Doctor.”

He left his pen on the table beside his notebook and looked at me as if I were a poor beggar who had asked for a morsel to eat. 

“The man you mentioned, Michael Kirkpatrick, I believe is a servant who was once in your employ but is now a convict.”

“That is not possible. What has he been convicted of?”

“Theft and assault. Before his departure, he stole belongings from Eyre Hall and he assaulted you.”

“You must be mistaken. Michael and I will be married on Christmas Eve.”

“You are a widow, and you cannot remarry without your son’s consent, madam, and in your present condition, he cannot agree to such madness.”

I realised this doctor would not help me, so I did not argue. When I left this dreadful place, I would speak to John and clear Michael’s name.

“And where is Helen?”

He looked at his notes. “Yes, Helen. She is a servant at Eyre Hall, the same as Michael. They have both conspired to rob you of your reason, and it seems they have succeeded. You have only one son and his name is John Rochester.”

A throbbing at the back of my head spread to my temples and forehead as I tried to make sense of his words. It was a nightmare, and I had to wake up. I flew to the small window and grabbed the iron bars; they seemed real, but this could not be happening. I needed to get out of this terrifying place. 

“Dr Stevens, I need to go home.”

“You cannot leave here until you admit that it has all been a fabrication of your feeble mind, Mrs Mason. Michael is a servant who seduced you, robbed and attacked you, and Helen is another servant’s daughter who you have imagined is the stillborn child you lost ten years ago. The sooner you admit it, the earlier you will leave.”

Someone must have given him this false information. I had to find out who was behind this conspiracy. “May I ask you who has informed you of this?”

“Archbishop Templar has always taken an interest in Grimsby Retreat, where you are now staying. Your son has asked him to take care of you and his late father’s estate in his absence until he returns from his visit to America.”

Was it possible that the archbishop had fabricated the lies and convinced these people that I was a madwoman? What was his purpose in confining me and imprisoning Michael? I could not yet fathom the answers to these questions. But it would seem the bishop had become our worst enemy.  

“Where is John? When can I see him?”

“In due time, when you are recovered. We will take good care of you, Mrs Mason. Your confusion is understandable. You have lost two husbands in just over a year, your only son left home, your miscarriages and stillborn child have added to your sorrow.” He patted my hand and smiled. “But worry not; we will take good care of you.”

I raised my hands to my hair and felt for my hairpins. I knew Michael was as real as the little silver butterflies with crystal pendants I was wearing. They were his favourite. I stroked the long pin which, being firmly fixed and covered by my dishevelled hair, had not been removed. I imagined that as long as I could feel it, Michael would find me. I smiled demurely at the foolish doctor and thanked him kindly. What else could I do while I prayed Michael and Helen were safe?

The following days merged into endless hours of misery. The house grew colder and gloomier every minute. In the mornings we had breakfast in a large hall where there was a small fire covered by a huge grate, insufficient to heat the chill room. Porridge, gritty brown bread and tea were passed around the long table. I drank the tea but hardly touched the food. Dinner was tasteless and tough, stewed meat and soggy boiled vegetables which did little to encourage my waning appetite.

I was required to spend the mornings in the icy room with the other residents on my floor. There was nothing in the behaviour of these women to suggest that they were any more unstable than I was. They were all well-dressed and reasonably groomed, although they moved with heavy feet and cautious eyes, which I supposed was due to our bleak surroundings and Mrs Mills’ bad temper.

There were six other ladies on my floor. Mrs Pengilly was a quiet, elderly lady who told me she had been admitted by her husband to mend her nerves. She liked to sit by the fireplace with Miss Short, a stout, middle-aged spinster whose father was worried about her habit of reading and eating too much. Miss Fowler was a tall young lady with bulging eyes who spoke in a loud voice with a Scottish accent; she sat alone in a corner reading one of the tattered copies of the Bible from the sparse bookshelves. Mrs Black was a widow who was usually found knitting by the window. She told me her brother brought her here every year in December and January, because she refused to take part in the Christmas celebrations. Miss Craft, a fine-looking and smartly-dressed woman, rarely spoke. She occasionally played the out-of-tune piano in the corner. A young girl called Katy, who refused to eat or speak, drew pencil sketches of angels and demons. I had seen no one else, but I knew there were more prisoners on the other floors, because I heard their cries at night and fits of demoniac laughter echoing from below during the day. 

As one monotonous day rolled into another, I began to sink into despair. I felt as if I had been buried alive, unable to eat or sleep, until I realised that these first days had been a holiday. Chaos was about to send Satan on his way to ruin me. I prayed Michael would find me soon, or I would die in this godforsaken inferno.

One morning when I heard Katy crying, I approached her and asked if she would like to talk to me about what ailed her, but she shook her head fiercely. “Be quiet. Don’t tell anyone,” she chanted.

That evening, I heard sobs coming from Katy’s room, which was across the hall from mine. I jumped out of bed and listened behind my door, which was locked on the outside. I heard her feet dragging along the floor. “Not to the shed, please,” she said, and a man’s voice answered, “Be quiet. You know the rules.” I listened to her muffled cries until they ceased. I peered out of my window and waited. Minutes later I heard more cries and saw two figures crossing the garden towards the shed, but it could have been the wind, or wild animals. The noises ceased, and I hoped I had imagined that Katy was in trouble, because there was nothing I could do to help her.   

The following morning, when Katy was not sitting at the breakfast table, I asked Mrs Mills if she was unwell.

“Unwell? Not at all. She has been discharged. Her parents took her back home yesterday evening.”

Miss Craft raised her hands and moved her fingers in the air, playing an imaginary piano. “That’s good news,” she said and dropped her hands back to her lap.

“I’ll miss her,” said Miss Pengilly, and Miss Short nodded.

Miss Fowler’s terrified eyes glanced at Mrs Black, who shot up, knocking her chair to the floor. “She didn’t say goodbye. She should have said goodbye. I knitted her a scarf. She was my friend. Friends say goodbye when they leave!” 

Mrs Mills made eye contact with each one of us before speaking. “Silence, or I shall call Dr Stewart. He will not be pleased.” She paused, stabbing me with her eyes. “I had not realised you were such a troublemaker, Mrs Mason. You will stay in your room until further notice.”

The following days were short and gloomy, merging into one long night. I watched the motion of the moon glide under the clouds, and I imagined I saw a shadow in the grounds. I whispered Michael’s name and cried bitterly; little did I know that the real inferno was about to begin.

It started with a knock on my door one stormy afternoon some days after Katy’s mysterious disappearance. I had found a worn copy of David Copperfield and took pleasure in stroking its weathered pages, for I had trouble focusing on the words. Bitter tears spilled from my eyes, smearing the ink, as I remembered my conversations with Mr Dickens at Eyre Hall. 

“May I intrude, Jane Eyre?”

I jumped out of my chair and turned abruptly, surprised to hear my maiden name in a voice I did not recall. Neither did I recognise the large, overfed body or bulging blue eyes which stared back at me.

“Good afternoon, sir. Are we acquainted?”

“You do not remember me?”

I would not have forgotten his bulging reptilian eyes, which did not blink. “I’m afraid not, but please sit down. It is not often I have company, sir.”

I waved towards a rickety chair by the writing desk and sat down again myself. My visitor nodded and obliged. His corpulent presence and repulsive odour filled the tiny room. I coughed and held my handkerchief to my nose.

“I hope you are comfortable here, Jane Eyre, for that is your name, is it not?”

“I am Mrs Mason at present.” I wanted to tell him that soon I would be Mrs Kirkpatrick, but I remembered the doctor’s words. “My husband died over a year ago.”

“You were once called Mrs Rochester, I believe?”

“Yes, Mr Rochester died over two years ago. Did you know my husband, Mr—?”

“Yes, I met both your husbands, madam. Mr Rochester and Mr Mason both employed my mother’s services at Thornfield Hall. Do you not remember me? My name is Poole, Mr Daniel Poole.”

I looked at him more carefully. His veined cheeks, bushy grey eyebrows and fuzzy beard suggested he was Richard’s age. I tried to imagine what he might have looked like twenty years earlier, but no one came to mind.

“I’m afraid I cannot recall having seen you at Thornfield Hall, Mr Poole.”

“I visited my mother on one occasion. You were the governess at that time.”

“Poole?” Could Grace Poole, Bertha’s drunken keeper, be this man’s mother? I was reminded of a grim, unfriendly woman with a prim cap perched on her large head and a coarse, gloomy face, wearing a brown stuff dress and white apron. Mrs Poole had spent most of her time in a low-ceilinged, oaken chamber on the second storey of Thornfield Hall, where she sat and sewed, and drank port, gin, or whatever spirits were available.

I jumped out of my chair at once. “You are Grace Poole’s son?”

“The very same. I was already employed at Grimsby Retreat, but of course, you wouldn’t remember the likes of me. You were too busy enticing the master of the house, weren’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Funny isn’t it, how the wheels of fortune turn unexpectedly? You were a quaint little thing. An ethereal waif, tantalising all the men in sight.”

I trembled in the realisation that he had not come as a friend.

“You wouldn’t have noticed me then, would you? I wasn’t good enough for you, was I? Answer me.” His eyes bulged even more as he leaned towards me.

“I’m afraid I have no recollection of your visit to Thornfield Hall, Mr Poole.”

“Well, it so happens I’m the superintendent at Grimsby Retreat, where you are presently in residence. Your stay here is in my hands. I’ll have you know I’m not a rancorous man at all. I’ll forget how you ignored me and demeaned my mother with your haughty airs, and I am prepared to make your stay here much more pleasant.”

He held out his hand, but I recoiled. “Come, Mrs Mason, don’t be shy. I mean you no harm. Let us take a walk. I want to show you the rest of the retreat.”

I had no choice. I was trapped between a thick wall and a grated window behind me, and a massive man with a repulsive grin before me. He crushed my hand in his fat, sweaty palm.

“Your hand is cold, Jane. Come.” He pulled me towards the door. “You don’t mind if I call you Jane now, do you? I’ll show you to your new rooms. You’ll be much more comfortable there.” 

 I had to run to keep up with his long strides as he dragged me across the main hall and up a winding staircase to another floor.

“These are the best rooms, reserved for our special guests. I also live here with my wife. Fortunately, Mrs Poole is unwell.” He smiled, revealing uneven grey teeth. “She won’t bother us.”

Despite the blazing flames and well-furnished room, I shivered, as if ice water were trickling down my spine.

“You’re cold. Don’t stand in the doorway, Jane. Come inside. This will be your room from now on. I want you to write a list of the food you like to eat, and the clothes and other personal items you’d like to have.”

“Why?” I whispered.

“Isn’t it obvious? I’ll look after you while you’re here and, in return, you’ll be my mistress.”

I held my breath. “Why?” I repeated, trying to make sense of this bizarre situation.

“Because I want you, and I am in a position to have you.”

“I’d like to return to my room, please.” I tried to sound assertive, but my voice was unsteady.

“There is no going back, I’m afraid. You will stay here and oblige me. You’ll find I’m easy to please.” He took my limp hand and pressed it to his mouth. The room swirled like a tornado, sucking me into its twisting eye.

When I woke up, I was in my new bed and the doctor was taking my pulse. “You must eat, Mrs Mason, or you will make yourself ill. Do you want to be force-fed?”

He showed me a long tube and motioned it towards my mouth. I shook my head energetically.

“Then you must eat everything on the tray before Mr Poole returns. There is nothing else physically wrong with you.”

The food on the tray, cheese, cold meat, and fruit, would have looked appealing in any other place, but my lips felt as if they were glued together. I managed to pull them apart to speak to the doctor.

“Could I see my son or Archbishop Templar, please?”

“No visitors are allowed for the moment.”

“When can I have visitors?”

“Perhaps in the spring, when you’re feeling better.”

I asked for a Bible. I was anxious to re-read the Gospel according to St Matthew in the hope that it would give me the strength to endure Poole’s designs on me as our Lord had suffered on the cross. Why had I been forsaken?   

The Bible gave me little comfort. I cried for the wretched treatment I was enduring and wished for a quick death instead of the slow poisoning awaiting me. I remembered Michael’s words. “No one will keep us apart,” he had promised. I closed my eyes and recalled the joyful moments we had experienced a few months earlier.

**** The End of Chapter One ****

Thunder Moon will be priced at $0,99 until 5th November, so grab you copy now!

By the way, did I tell you I’ve gone wide? That means Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall is available at most international retailers find yours by following this link:

Happy Reading!

#BookLaunch Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall #4 The Eyre Hall Series #Histfic #JaneEyreSequel

Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall is the darkest novel in The Eyre Hall Series, but it also has many exciting, nerve-wracking, and romantic scenes.

Jane and Michael are kidnapped, deprived of their freedom, and forced to escape as outlaws with false identities, for six months.

Fortunately, matters improve in the second half of the novel, although there will be major and surprising changes at Eyre Hall and in the lives of all the main characters.

Readers will witness more lies, betrayal and the revelation of family secrets dating back to the ever-present attic at Thornfield Hall.

Some new, surprising, and engaging characters will appear to become part of the permanent characters in the series. There will be wedding bells, a new and endearing romance, as well as unexpected heartache.

As always, there will be a death, including Mr Isaac das Junot’s unnerving presence and alarming predictions.

Readers who have read the first three novels will not be disappointed in this thrilling, gothic romance and fourth installment to The Eyre Hall Series.

What? You haven’t read Blood Moon, All Hallows and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall yet?

No worries! I have a fabulous plan for you!

The Eyre Hall Series Volume One, which includes the first three novels plus the novella Resurgam Book #0.5, is available for preorder and will be published on 28th October at a very special price, all four novels in the box set for $2.99!

So there’s no excuse not to binge read them all! Almost 1000 pages of adventure, romance, mystery and gothic thrills set in Victorian England (with a few short trips to colonial Jamaica).

If you have as much fun and angst as I had writing the series, you will be well and truly thrilled to bits! Go on, indulge!

By the way, did I tell you I’ve gone wide? That means Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall is available at most international retailers if you follow this link:

And if you want to preorder Volume One of The Eyre Hall Series, here’s the link:

Happy Wednesday and Happy Reading!

The view from my back garden a few hours ago, this evening. A treat fro my eyes!

Why I wrote #Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series #Novella inspired by Helen Burns’ Death in #Jane Eyre

I am sure I was not the only impressionable teenager who read chapter IX of Jane Eyre and was haunted forever by Charlotte Bronte’s description of Helen Burns’ death in Jane Eyre’s arms, where Helen’s corpse rested, nestled with Jane until the following morning.

Helen Burns was Jane Eyre’s best friend at Lowood Institution for Orphans, where Jane spent seven years as a student and two as a teacher. Helen supported Jane through the public humiliations Mr Brocklehurst imposed on her, and helped a non-conformist Jane to understand and adapt to the teachers and routine at Lowood. In case you don’t remember, you can read a flash fiction summary of chapter VIII, in which their friendship is explained, and chapter IX, which deals with Helen’s death.

Chapter IX ends with a few brief lines about Helen’s burial in an unknown mass grave. Forty girls, half of the pupils at Lowood, died of typhus that summer. As most of the girls were orphans, few of them had families, and those who did could not afford to pay for a headstone.

Resurgam is dedicated to my grandmother, Rafaela Fernandez, whom I never met because she was killed in an air raid in August 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, and buried anonymously in a mass grave. My mother, who was seven at the time, was sitting on her lap. Miraculously, she survived.

No doubt that is why I was especially sensitive to Helen’s death and anonymous mass burial. When I decided to write an Eyre Hall Series Novella, Helen’s death scene, her anonymous mass grave, and the word Resurgam were constantly on my mind.

In Jane Eyre, Jane tells her Dear Reader, that she returned to the cemetery fifteen years later, when she was married to Mr Rochester and had a son, to lay a headstone on her friend’s grave with the word, Resurgam.

Why Resurgam? Resurgam is Latin for “I shall rise again.” It is found in the Bible referred to the resurrection of Christ on the third day. Helen was fervently religious, and stoically accepted her death. Helen also influenced Jane’s religious beliefs and faith in God, especially regarding life after death, which Jane firmly believed in. Her faith was the reason why she wanted her friend to have a headstone to remind everyone who saw it that they would rise again after death.

I wrote Resurgam to capture the moment Jane returned to Brocklebridge cemetery and erected Helen’s headstone. The plot explores the reasons Jane did so at that precise moment, and how the event came about. The novella delves into the themes of friendship, honouring our past and our deceased friends and relatives, as well as love, marriage, motherhood and social concerns.

Naturally I reimagined Jane, some years into her marriage, with her young son, John Eyre Rochester, while she was living at Eyre Hall, the house she built on the site of Thornfield Hall, with her uncle John Eyre’s inheritance.

Readers of Resurgam will see how the Rochesters’ marriage developed over the years and the way in which Jane adapted to her new life as the wife of the wealthy owner of the Rochester estate, as well as the reasons and way in which the word Resurgam finds its way to Brocklebridge Church graveyard.

Writing Resurgam was cathartic for me and my Jane Eyre. It was written at a challenging time, which led to a personal reflection about the life we lead, the dreams we achieve, and the people and life we leave behind, because we can’t have it all, or can we?

The events narrated in Resurgam occurred eleven years before Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One of the Eyre Hall Series, so it can be read as a standalone or as a prequel to the series. Some of the main characters of The Eyre Hall Series, such as Michael, Susan, Mrs Leah, John Rochester, Bishop Templar (who is Archdeacon), and Isaac das Junot, appear in this 22,000-word novella. Check out yesterday’s post for the blurb and more information about Resurgam.

If this sounds intriguing, why not preorder here. It’s available on Amazon and other book retailers at a special launch price of one dollar click on the image below.

As always, if you would like a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review, just let me know in the comments or sign up for my newsletter by following the link below:

And if you’d like to find out more about The Eyre Hall Series, visit my homepage

#BookLaunch Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella is available for preorder! To be published on 20th #September

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre

Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves and they have a healthy eight-year-old son. They live in a grand new house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall.

Jane has the family she longed for and all the comforts money can buy, and yet she is discontented.

Mrs Rochester is dissatisfied with her opulent lifestyle, and she is tormented by cryptic nightmares in which Helen, her deceased best friend from Lowood Institution for Orphans, begs Jane for help.

When another friend from Lowood, Mary Anne Wilson, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news, Jane realises she will not recover her peace of mind, fortitude, and passion unless she finds a way to keep the promise she made to Helen when she was a penniless orphan.

Resurgam is a standalone novella which can be read as a prequel to The Eyre Hall Series. The events narrated take place between 1853 and 1854, eleven years before Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One of The Eyre Hall Series.

If this sounds intriguing, why not preorder here. It’s available on Amazon and other book retailers at a special launch price of one dollar click on the image below.

As always, if you would like a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review, just let me know in the comments or sign up for my newsletter by following the link below:

And if you’d like to find out more about The Eyre Hall Series, visit my homepage