#AtoZChallenge ‘L’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘The Lightest Touch’ #NPM17 #amwriting #poem #inspiration

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today I offer you two poems about poetic inspiration. The Lightest Touch by David Whyte, which has in turn inspired me to write a poem with the same name about the same subject, The Lightest Touch by Luccia Gray

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 THE LIGHTEST TOUCH by David Whyte

Good poetry begins with

the lightest touch,

a breeze arriving from nowhere,

a whispered healing arrival,

a word in your ear,

a settling into things,

then, like a hand in the dark,

it arrests the whole body,

steeling you for revelation.

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In the silence that follows

a great line,

you can feel Lazarus,

deep inside

even the laziest, most deathly afraid

part of you,

lift up his hands and walk toward the light.

– from EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU and RIVER FLOW

David Whyte in 2009 by Eugene Kim

David Whyte, of Anglo-Irish origins, was born and brought up in the UK. He was a marine zoologist, before he started writing poetry.

The lightest Touch is a beautiful poem which aims to identify the fleeting and magical moment of inspiration or revelation, before a poem is written.

More about David and his poetry here.

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I’ve used the same title in my poem and tied to identify the same moment.

The Lightest Touch by Luccia Gray (inspired by David Whyte)

A whisper in my dream,

A fading ripple in the sea,

A breeze when your eyes open,

A trembling leaf just fallen.

A bolt of lightning,

A shadow sliding

Over the waning sun.

The lightest touch,

Like a distant hum

Has finally come.

A sudden surge of light,

Which starts so slight,

Yet grows and grows

‘Till it explodes,

Into words and lines

And other signs,

Later a poem,

Just for them.

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Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:

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Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon 

 

Is Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall a Standalone #Novel or The Second Volume of a Trilogy?

I’d like to start by answering a previous question. Many people ask me if it’s necessary to have read Jane Eyre or Wide Sargasso Sea before reading the novels in the Eyre Hall Trilogy, and I always tell them it isn’t necessary.

It’s true that some of the characters in my novels originally appeared in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. However, many other characters are original to The Eyre Hall Trilogy, never having appeared in Jane Eyre.

Similarly, some of the plot lines are taken from ‘the spaces’ which Charlotte Bronte and Jean Rhys left in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, but most of the suspense and intrigue has been devised by my own overactive imagination.

The original plots and characters in both novels are partly present in my own, but there is enough back story by means of flashbacks and conversations to enable readers to remember or be acquainted with the characters and stories.

Some readers have said they read or reread Jane Eyre after reading All Hallows at Eyre Hall, and I love hearing it, but that’s purely a matter of choice. I personally believe authentic Victorian fiction, with its relatively slow pace, heavy reliance on telling instead of showing, and detailed descriptions, is often hard going for contemporary readers.

You may like to read my post on prequels, sequels, reinterpretations, rewriting and writing back, for more information about how I have combined both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, making both novels the backstory to The Eyre Hall Trilogy.

Coming back to our original question, is Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall a standalone or part of a trilogy? Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is both a standalone novel and part of a trilogy.

I hope it will be read by readers who have already read All Hallows at Eyre Hall, but it can also be read without having read the first volume. I actually gave it to several beta readers, who had not read All Hallows, and they told me they considered it as a complete novel on its own.

That said, readers of Twelfth Night who have not read All Hallows may want to read the backstory with more detail and decide to read it afterwards. That’s fine, too, but again, not necessary.

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall has various plot lines, which start in Chapter I and end in Chapter XXXIII. Some of these events have their origin in All Hallows, others in Jane Eyre, or Wide Sargasso Sea, and others are unique to Twelfth Night. In any case, there is sufficient information for the reader to have a complete reading experience.

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is a novel for readers who enjoy historical novels including adventure, mystery, and romance. The novel starts during a storm on the Atlantic Ocean in November, and moves back to Eyre Hall, the country estate where the extended Eyre-Rochester family live, for Christmas. Part of the action will also take us to Victorian London, and finally across the ocean once more to Jamaica. A myriad of diverse characters will entertain the reader with their unique first person accounts of events. There are several unconventional romances, murders, kidnappings, and lots of suspense, right up to the last page!

Some of the characters first appear in Jane Eyre, and others are unique to Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall. I have included the folowing ‘Cast of Characters’ at the beginning of Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, to enhance the reading experience.

Meet the Cast in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Characters initially in Jane Eyre:
Jane Eyre, Richard Mason, Leah, Admiral Fitzjames (he was captain in Jane Eyre), Mrs. Diana Fitzjames (who was Miss Diana Rivers in Jane Eyre), Celine and Adele Varens, Mr. Briggs, Dr. Carter, Bertha Mason, and Mr. Rochester.

Characters of my own creation in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall:
John Eyre Rochester, Michael and Susan Kirkpatrick, Annette Mason, ‘young’ Dr. Carter, Captain Carrington, Mr. William Greenwood, Dante Greenwood, Mr. Smythe, Nell Rosset, Jenny Rosset, Phoebe, Simon, Beth, Daisy, Fred, Cook, Joseph, Christy, and Isaac das Junot.

Character sketches

Jane Eyre is no longer a nineteen-year-old, penniless governess. She is a wealthy woman in her early forties, who promotes education and social welfare, writes novels, and manages the Rochester estate. She was married to Mr. Rochester for 21 years and has one son, John Eyre Rochester, although she had several miscarriages and a stillborn daughter. After her husband’s death, Jane was blackmailed into marrying Mr. Mason and abandoned by the man she loved.

Richard Mason was Mr. Rochester’s brother-in-law. His sister, Bertha Mason, was Rochester’s first mad wife.

Annette Mason was born in Thornfield Hall while her mother, Bertha Mason, was married to Edward Rochester and locked in his attic. Her uncle, Richard Mason, took Annette back with him to Jamaica, where she was brought up in a convent, as an orphan, supervised by her uncle. She returned to England to claim her birthright when Mr. Rochester was on his deathbed. She is now living at Eyre Hall as Jane’s ward.

Michael Kirkpatrick used to be Jane’s valet, but he left Eyre Hall and joined the Royal Navy when Jane accepted Mr. Mason’s proposal.

Captain Carrington is Michael’s captain on board the HMS Princess Helena. He was also captain to Admiral Fitzjames, who is married to Jane’s cousin, Diana.

Adele Varens was Mr. Rochester’s ward. Jane Eyre was first employed at Thornfield Hall as her governess. Her mother, Céline Varens, was Mr. Rochester’s mistress in France. Adele is engaged to the widowed poet, Mr. Greenwood. They have been living in Venice for the past year with Mr. Greenwood’s son, Dante. Susan Kirkpatrick, Michael’s sister, has accompanied Adele as her maid and companion.

Mr. Briggs was a solicitor who had been dealing with the Eyre-Rochester family’s affairs, and Mr. Smythe is his new employee.

‘Young’ Dr. Carter is Dr. Carter’s son. He has taken over his father’s practice in the area.

Mrs. Leah is the housekeeper at Eyre Hall. She used to work as a maid at Thornfield Hall before Jane Eyre arrived.

Nell is a ten-year-old girl who is Jane’s companion throughout her illness. Her mother, Jenny Rosset, is a seamstress at Eyre Hall.

Simon, Beth, Daisy, Christy, Fred, Cook and Joseph are also servants at Eyre Hall.

Isaac das Junot is a sin-eater. He is a sinister character who appears when there is a death at Eyre Hall.

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I hope readers who have read All Hallows and/or Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall will be interested enough in the extended Eyre-Mason-Rochester family, to want to read Midsummer at Eyre Hall (due in spring 2016), which will end this trilogy, because it will mark the end of an era at Eyre Hall. However, ends also lead to new beginnings, and Midsummer at Eyre Hall will open the door to the start of another stage in this family saga.

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is on a Kindle Countdown Deal at a special reduced price 0.99 until the 26th of November. It’s also free to download on KindleUnlimited

The Sin-Eater in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall #HalloweenBooks

Spine-chilling Characters in Real Life and Fiction: The Sin-Eater

Sin-eaters really existed from pre-Christian times to the end of the 19th century. They were summoned to the bedside of a dead person, with the objective of absorbing their sins by eating and drinking food placed on the corpse’s body, thereby enabling the deceased to continue his journey to afterlife in a sinless manner.

Many sin-eaters were beggars, and the custom was carried out in different parts of the British Isles, including Yorkshire and Wales, until mid-19th century. The last Sin-eater reportedly died in Shropshire, in 1906.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy is not a horror story, but there some sinister characters and events in the novels, which are set in Victorian England. Last year leading up to Halloween, I wrote a post about a spine-chilling Sin-Eater, Isac das Junot, who appears in All Hallows at Eyre Hall.

If you would like to read an extract of Junot’s visit to Eyre Hall in All Hallows at Eyre Hall, follow this link. If you’d like to read an extract of Junot’s visit to Eyre Hall in Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, continue reading this post.

Chapter XIX – Junot Returns

Some things had changed since my last visit to Eyre Hall, but most had remained unaltered. Dawn had not yet broken, and I could see candlelight coming from her window. I presumed the widow was having breakfast in her room to avoid the hordes of fake mourners who would soon be flooding into the drawing room. 

I stood before the unlocked door and kicked it open. A gust of wind and snow swirled into the hall. A maid screamed and ran through a door and down to the servant’s quarters. Was my presence so disagreeable that they were so easily frightened? Could they see what I saw? Could they see the sins I had absorbed and feel the evil I carried?

The house was still. The guests had not yet arrived, but I could smell the corpse upstairs. I supposed he was in Mr. Rochester’s room. Another sinful meal awaited me.

I was about to walk up the stairs when I heard a stuttering voice behind me. I recognised the terrified, long–limbed servant I had seen last year.

“I’m afraid Mrs. Mason cannot see you.” 

I turned, parted my chapped lips and showed him my sharp grey teeth. “I have come to see Mr. Mason, you idiot.” My hollow voice reverberated in the empty hall. “So announce me to his widow, unless you wish yours to be the next funeral.”

He jumped back and babbled some unintelligible words. I managed to decipher the last three. “Please leave, sir.”

“Will you be responsible for Mr. Mason’s permanence in this house as one of the undead?” My voice rumbled across the hall.

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This time, Jane not only allows Junot to carry out his macabre ceremony, but she also has a conversation with him. Why would Christian Jane allow him into her house? Part of her conversation with him can help us understand her reasons.

When Junot asks Jane, “Why do you not fear me?”

Jane replies:

“Because I know that good and evil are two sides of the same coin, just as happiness and sadness, and beauty and ugliness are all part of our nature. There is no good without evil. Each of us has both. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. You chose evil, so you make the rest of us your opposite: good. Why should I fear you?”

“You are unwise not to fear me,” I said as we walked into the same room I had entered the last time. The corpse was laid out, dressed, and blackened. The smell was the most nauseating I had ever encountered. Was he already decomposing? Had his soul escaped before my arrival?

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The Sin-eater not only claims to save the dying from hell, but also from wandering the earth as ghosts, thereby performing a service for the living as well. Junot also claims to predict the future, and Jane seems to believe that he does indeed have such powers, but does he? Or is he a charlatan?

Surprisingly, Jane believes Junot’s rituals serve a purpose, because she is not willing to take the risk of having ghosts at her beloved Eyre Hall. She also believes in Junot’s powers of divination, which are wound into the plot in each novel.

Jane believes that evil exists as a real force of nature, yet she believes that the power of good is stronger and will therefore finally win the battle, which is why she does not fear him. She also believes in destiny, which is why she believes the future can be seen, because the path has already been laid out.

Junot will reappear again in Book 3 of The Eyre Hall Trilogyy, Midsummer at Eyre Hall, to absorb more sins and make a devil’s pact with one of the main characters.

All Hallows at Eyre Hall US and UK Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall US and UK are both on Kindle Countdown Deal ay 0.99 until 2nd of November.

 

#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!

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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!

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  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!

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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

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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.

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

Have a great weekend! Read a book!

 

 

#IWSG Book Signing: My Tentative To Do List

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2

This post was written in response to The Insecure Writers Support Group, which posts every first Wednesday of every month.

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I have attended book signings, but I’ve never really thought about the organization. I just turned up, enjoyed myself, chatted to the author, bought the book, had the book signed, and left.

Now it’s my turn. My first novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, was published on Kindle in May 2014. I finally published it in paperback in July, 2015. One of the advantages of having a print version is that people can hold it in their hands and turn the pages, and authors can do book signing events!

Kumi with my book

Kumi with my book!

Sounds like a great idea, but I’m an independent author, so I have to set it up myself, but I have no idea how to do it, because I’ve never organized such an event!

I’ve been asking other authors and looking it up on other book blogs, but right now I’m a bundle of nerves just thinking about it.

This is my To Do List, and this is how it’s going, so far.

It won’t happen until 27th of October, so any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

I’ll tell you how it goes next month!

1.Where is it going to happen?

First I chose the venue and booked it. It’s going to take place in a book shop called La República de Las Letras, in the centre of town (Córdoba, Spain), which also has wine and coffee, and tables for people to sit at and chat or just have a drink. The owner was very enthusiastic, although 90% of the books she sells are in Spanish, there’s an unexplored market for books in English.

Book Shop

                Inside the book shop, La Republica de las Letras

2. When is it taking place?

On the Tuesday 27th of October at 8.30 in the evening. I chose the 27th October because I wanted it to take place as near as possible to Halloween, as the novel is set on and around All Hallows. It is not a horror story, but there are enough gothic elements to warrant this date as significant for the context of the novel. 8.30 may seem late in the rest of the world, but in Spain, some people are finishing work, others are out for a walk or shopping, and for many the second part of the day begins! It will probably go on until 10.00-10.30. Of course that means there must be a glass of wine offered at the event. Hopefully that will lure even more people!

3. What type of event will it be?

Just signing or a talk/presentation, too? I’ve decided I’d like it to be a ‘Meet the Author’ type of activity. I’ll be giving a short talk before the book signing, and read some excerpts, so readers know what it’s about. I’ll also answer questions. I’ve seen it done like this before, and it works well, as long as it’s not too long. I’m aiming for 20-30 minutes, and then mingling with everyone and a glass of wine.

4. Who to invite?

I live in Spain, so I’m at a disadvantage regarding the availability of potential readers in my area!

The English-speaking community in Cordoba isn’t very large, but the good thing is the majority are English teachers and (hopefully) readers. I will need to write invitations to the Private English Language schools in the city, the English Department at the Faculty, and the Official Language School. I’ll also be inviting many Spanish, teachers of English. I’m hoping for anything between 10 and 50 people.

5. How will the event be promoted/advertised in the media?

I’ll be using social media, such as Twitter, my Blog, and Facebook. There will be a Facebook event promoting it on my author page and the Book Shop page. I’ll post an event on Goodreads. I’m also planning to send a press release to the local paper and radio station, and of course, word of mouth. I’ll be telling everyone I know to tell everyone they know in the area!

I’m also preparing some merchandising. I’m having professional-looking book markers to give away (designed by my cover artist), I’m also making some fridge magnets with the book’s cover, and some little purse mirrors with my cover on the back.

Espejito All Hallows

The back of my promotional purse mirror

5. How should I dress?

I’m not sure yet. The only thing I’m sure about is that I want to feel comfortable and that I’ll be wearing a dress with lots of black, and black shoes. I’m thinking of this dress. What do you think?

Desigual dress 8 oct

         ‘Carolina’ by Desigual 50Euros

6. What else should I bring, other than my books? Apart from the merchandising products mentioned earlier and 40 books, I’ll need a good pen to sign, water, tissues, and I may prepare a handout, I’m not sure yet.

7. Where will I sit while I’m speaking and what should I do when I’m not?

I’ll have to discuss this with the shop owner. It’s a large shop with several different spaces. There’s even a piano. I’m thinking of asking a former student to play the piano while people stroll in and settle down, and after the short talk. While we’re all mingling!

8. Where should I sign the book and what should I write on the dedication?

I’ll sign on the page where the title is. I’ll ask the person’s name to personalize it, and write something like: For Jenny, hoping you’ll enjoy this journey into Victorian England. Best (if I don’t know them very well) Love (if they’re friends) and my signature, which I’ve designed and practiced, because Luccia Gray is my pen name!

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8. Where will the books to be bought be placed?

No idea. I’ll have to discuss it with the owner. I suppose they buy it at the counter and I sign it at the table where I’ve been speaking.

9. What about photographs?

I’d like to have lots of photos of the event for my social media, and to keep as a reminder of my first book-signing event, but I can’t be taking the photos myself, so I need to find a professional or reliable person. I’m fortunate enough to have a brother-in-law who is an amateur photographer, so I’ve asked him to come along and do the job!

10. Anything else?

I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Suggestions are welcome.

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While  was on the internet looking for information, I found this webpage with lots of tips and ideas: http://www.writing-world.com/promotion/promo01.shtml

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Have you ever done an author or book-signing event? How did it go?

Read some of the other posts on this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group, or write one yourself! Read or sign up here!

 

Four Days to Book Launch: Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall

Four days to book launch
I’m a bundle of nerves. I’ve never launched a book before!

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is my second novel, but I didn’t launch book 1, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. I just uploaded it to Amazon on 1st May, 2014, hit the ‘publish’ icon, and crossed my fingers.

Fifteen months later, I know better. I’ve met plenty of other authors and bloggers, seen what they do, learned from them, discussed matters, and I want to do a ‘real’ book launch this time.

I’ve organized four main events for the launch:

1- The first thing I did was make Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall available for pre-order on Amazon, just over a month ago.  I uploaded the final version, with trembling fingers, last week. It had been read by seven wonderful, talented, and generous beta readers, and edited twice by a most patient and enlightening editor, Alison Williams. This has been a good idea. I have already sold 50 copies. That means that 50 people are eagerly waiting to download my novel on Friday! They make me feel happy, excited and responsible for their enjoyment.

2- The second thing I’ve done is get in touch with some of my wonderful blogging friends, others will be receiving mails this week, and asked them to help me in my launch by allowing my book launch to appear on their blogs. This will be happening for about a month. I’ll be reblogging, so you’ll be able to meet all my supportive blogging sisters, and some brothers, I hope!

3- The third thing I’ve done is organize a Blogging Party for next Friday, 28th August, right here! Being the ‘clever’ person that I am, I know my limits, so I’ve looked for someone who can help me with the Party, so I’ve asked Suzie Speaks to do so, and she’s kindly pointing me in the right direction. Thank you Suzie! More news soon.

4- The fourth thing I’ve done is organize a Facebook Party. I’ve been to several hosted by writer friends and I’ve had fun, so I decided to do it myself. Although I’ve had an Author Page for about a year, I’ve also had a personal Fb for over seven years, and I have 350 friends. But, I have no idea how to organize a party. Again, I’ve looked for someone who can prepare a Facebook Party far better than I ever could. Becca, Jess, and Katie at LovingtheBook to help me. You’re all invited. More news soon, but it will be from 6 – 8 GMT on Friday, 28th August.

More news soon! Don’t miss out! There will be prizes, and fun and games! Stay tuned!

staytuned

‘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

‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’ Available in Paperback

I had planned to be away from the blogging universe for a month, which has become almost two months, because I’ve been investing all my time and effort into finishing my second novel and sequel to All Hallows at Eyre Hall, Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, and it’s ‘almost’ there.

I now have a deadline to meet. Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is available for pre-order and will be live on 28th of August. It is now in the beta reading, proof read and editing process.

I have also finally finished formatting and proofing All Hallows at Eyre Hall as a paperback edition, which is now available to purchase, too!

Eyre Hall Paperback

I have missed all my blogging friends, and very soon I plan to return to my usual posting and blog hopping and visiting!

Meanwhile I have the kindle version of All Hallows at Eyre Hall on offer from now until  for 0.99 cents US or 0.99p UK.

All Hallows has been on Amazon Bestsellers list several times, last month on Amazon UK it has been #12 on the Amazon Best Seller lists for Victorian Historical Romance!

Just in case you still don’t know, it’s the Sequel to Jane Eyre, taking up her life twenty years after her marriage to Edward Rochester. It’s a Historical Gothic Romance set in Victorian England, and according to some of the reviewers it is: ‘Exciting, masterfully written, thoughtful, imaginative, suspenseful…’

Please check it out, and/or share 🙂

Amazon US link:

Amazon UK link:

I’ll be back soon 🙂

Anniversary ‘All Hallows At Eyre Hall’ and Cover Reveal: ‘Twelfth Night At Eyre Hall’

Exactly a year ago, on 2nd of May 2014, I published my first novel: All Hallows at Eyre Hall.

I don’t know what I expected when I hit ‘publish’, because publishing was new to me. I didn’t have much of an online presence. I had about a dozen followers on my blog, no twitter, and Luccia Gray, my pen name and alter ego, was an unknown product of my imagination.

A year later, I have 319 followers and 14,000 views on my blog, 282 likes on my Author Facebook page, and over 2,000 followers on twitter, which means that many people know that Luccia Gray is a writer.

All Hallows at Eyre Hall has 37 reviews on Amazon.com, with an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars, and I’ve sold about one thousand ebooks. My Amazon Best Sellers Rank yesterday was #259,181 in the paid in kindle store. I also have 4.21 average rating on 33 ratings on Goodreads. I have no idea what this means in the bigger picture. I’m probably still a drop in the ocean, but I’m satisfied.

Now I’m a successful published author, because I’ve been an Amazon Bestseller on various occasions during the past year, and also because my book is being sold, read, and reviewed. Although I know more about indie authors and indie publishing, I’m still not sure what to expect as a writer in the long-term, but I do know that I’m going to keep on writing.

My career as a writer is a journey, not a race, and I’m not sure of the destination, except that the first stage of this journey includes writing the The Eyre Hall Trilogy.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy is a neo-Victorian Gothic Romance, set in Eyre Hall, the rebuilt Thornfield Hall, which was burnt down in Jane Eyre.

The trilogy takes up Jane’s life 22 years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, when she was a naïve 19-year-old, orphaned governess. In The Eyre Hall Trilogy, Mrs. Rochester is the mature matriarch and virtual administrator of the Rochester Estate, while her husband is lying on his deathbed, and unspeakable secrets, which rock Jane’s world, are gradually disclosed.

Book one, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, portrayed some dramatic and even shocking events, which escalated into an unexpected and unfortunate ending. Although there are several romances, it is a darker novel due to Rochester’s death, and the nature of the secrets revealed.

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, book two in the trilogy, takes up the story of the scattered and damaged characters, moving them on to experience more unexpected happenings, and surprising reunions and turns of events.

Although the plot is still thick with unexpected twists and some unpleasant turns, it is a more hopeful novel, as the diverse stories within the novel embark on a more promising journey, which is what I wanted to convey with this cover.

 

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall AMAZON LARGE

 

The highlight of the novel occurs around Christmas, 1867, when the members of the extended Rochester family: Jane, Richard, John, Annette, Adele and her fiancé, Mr. Greenwood and his son, Dante, their employees: Dr. Carter, Mr. Briggs, Michael, Susan, Simon, Beth, Daisy, Leah, Jenny, Nell, and Thomas, and some intriguing new characters, are reunited at Eyre Hall.

The action will take an unexpected turn with the death of a member of the household, in suspicious circumstances, on Twelfth Night, 6th of January.

The estimated publication date of Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is the end of July, 2015

I’d like to thank Melody Simmons for the beautiful cover.

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Do you like my cover?

Would you be interested in beta reading?

Would you be interested in an advanced review copy (ARC)?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or via email luccia.gray at gmail.com

Five Secrets I’d like to Share

I was tagged by fellow-blogger and author Roberta Pearce several days ago to post five things about myself that people might not know.

Well, if you don’t know it means it’s a secret, and if it’s a secret, I shouldn’t really be telling you, but since I can’t resist Roberta’s persuasive talents, I’ll have to comply…

1- My feet have given me many tough moments in life. When I was a child, I was taller than the rest, and had bigger feet then the rest of the girls my age, so I had a really hard time finding suitable shoes my size, children’s size. Everyone told me it would be alright when I got older, but it wasn’t, my feet kept growing, and growing, and by age thirteen, I was size 41. A couple of years later, it happened. My foot grew again. I am size 42 (I think that’s 11 US and 8 UK). Fortunately, they stopped growing. It was agony finding shoes. imagine a teenager looking for something cool in the outsize shoe department. I hated buying shoes. It caused me such trauma 😦 Of course it’s easier now, as there seem to be more people with my ‘problem’, and online shopping has made it much easier! Now I actually enjoy buying shoes:)

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The last pair of shoes I bought. Online. By Pitillos. Spanish leather shoes. Price: under 60 Euros. Value: Priceless. Size 42.

2- I’ve been using henna to colour my hair since 1992. I say this because many people think I’m a real red-head. Well, I’m not. I have to remind myself sometimes. I had curly blond hair as a child, which soon turned chestnut. The trouble with henna is it’s a bit messy and time consuming. I have to make a creamy mixture with the powder, some olive oil, and hot water, which I then apply to my hair with gloves, and leave it on for over an hour.

It’s an ancient ritual, which I love taking part in. Henna is a small tree which grows in northern Africa and has been used as a cosmetic die for 6,000 years.

Red or hennad became popular with the Pre-Raphaelite artists of England in the 1800s. The painting on my header, Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti  is just one example. The French Impressionists further popularized the association of henna-dyed hair and young bohemian women.

The trouble with henna is it’s a bit messy and time-consuming. I have to make a creamy mixture with the powder, some olive oil, and hot water, which I then apply to my hair with gloves, and leave it on for over an hour. However, I think it’s worth it, because I’ve never used chemical dyes on my hair.

 

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Red hair 55th birthday!

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Chestnut hair, 21st birthday!

3- I never drink red wine or spirits. I only drink beer or white wine occasionally. I’m not too fussy, I like local white Spanish wines, My favourite white wine is Rueda, which is made with ‘verdejo’ grapes, grown in Castille (north-west of Spain), near the cities of Valladolid, Segovia and Ávila. Marqués de Riscal is my favourite. I also like French Chardonnay or Sauvignon, and I have tried California white wine, when  was in the US, and thought it was quite nice, too. I’ve also tried white wines from Chile, South Africa, and Australia, although I haven’t been there yet.

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Marqués de Riscal grapes

 

4-  My favourite food is ‘cocochas’ or cod cheeks cooked in an earthenware casserole, made with olive oil, fried garlic, parsley, and making sure it is well-stirred, and slowly cooked. It also goes very well with white wine.

800px-Cocochas

 

5- I’ve always wanted to write the ‘autobiography’ of Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII, and the daughter of the Spanish Queen, Isabel of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon. I’m fascinated by this little girl who grew up in the splendour of her parents’ court in sunny Granada, and at the age of 15, she was sent to ‘cold and wet’ Wales to marry a sick child, Prince Arthur, who died shortly after her arrival, and then she was a virtual prisoner of Henry VII until his death, when she was finally allowed to marry Arthur’s brother, Henry VIII. Unable to bear a healthy male heir, she was eventually rejected, divorced, and imprisoned, in favour of Anne Boleyn, much like the madwoman in the attic… I will write it one day… By the way, she is said to have been a redhead!

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Catherine of Aragon at 11 by John of Flanders.

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Catherine’s mother. Isabel of Castille.

 

I feel relieved after telling you my five secrets, but don’t worry, I’m still a mystery, there are still plenty more secrets I’m saving for the future…

Who’d lke to tell me 5 secrets? It’s up to you! Let me know in the comments so I don’t miss out!