Category Archives: brontë

A Poem by Emily Brontë

“Emily wanted to be a Night Walker before she knew what one was.  Sometimes I think she summoned it.”  

~Anne Brontë, Nightwalker

 

One of the deeply enjoyable aspects of writing Anne Bronte, Nightwalker was incorporating the Bronte’s poetry throughout the manuscript.  When I came upon the following poem by Emily Bronte, #184 in The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë, ed.C.W. Hatfield, I couldn’t believe it.  It fit my story so perfectly.  In Nightwalker, Emily, unlike Anne, takes to the night naturally, far preferring it to the day.  And then to stumble upon this poem, where in Emily’s own words, the sun brings fire, death and pain.  What a surprise!  And, I must admit, a perfect gift.

 

Here, Emily likens the sun to a weapon, “arrow-straight” whose fierce beams strike the brow. It blazes, blinds, and “drains the blood of suffering men.”  She rejects the light, and despite the nightmares and insomnia that plagued her in real life, she longs for the night.  For where the sun is harsh, the night is gentle.  It brings a “pure” spell and union with  . . .  someone or something.  A vision of Shelley perhaps?  God?  Night itself?

 

It’s to the Stars, Dreams, and Night that Emily pleads for protection.

 

This poem deeply inspired my story.  It’s this poem that gave me inspiration for Anne’s words above, and showed me that Emily, despite the deep blackness of night on the moors, was unafraid of the darkness.

 

A Poem by Emily Jane Brontë

 

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun

Restored my earth to joy

Have you departed, every one,

And left a desert sky?

 

All through the night, your glorious eyes

Were gazing down in mine,

And with a full heart’s thankful sighs

I blessed that watch divine!

 

I was at peace, and drank your beams

As they were life to me

And reveled in my changeful dreams

Like petrel on the sea.

 

Thought followed thought–star followed star

Through boundless regions on,

While one sweet influence, near and far,

Thrilled through and proved us one.

 

Why did the morning rise to break

So great, so pure a spell,

And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek

Where your cool radiance fell?

 

Blood-red he rose, and arrow-straight

His fierce beams struck my brow:

The soul of nature sprang elate,

But mine sank sad and low!

 

My lids closed down–yet through their veil

I saw him blazing still;

And bathe in gold the misty dale,

And flash upon the hill.

 

I turned me to the pillow then

To call back Night, and see

Your worlds of solemn light, again

Throb with my heart and me!

 

It would not do–the pillow glowed

And glowed both roof and floor,

And birds sang loudly in the wood,

And fresh winds shook the door.

 

The curtains waved, the wakened flies

Were murmuring round my room,

Imprisoned there, till I should rise

And give them leave to roam.

 

O Stars and Dreams and Gentle Night;

O Night and Stars return!

And hide me from the hostile light

That does not warm, but burn–

 

That drains the blood of suffering men;

Drinks tears, instead of dew:

Let me sleep through his blinding reign,

And only wake with you!

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Emily Jane Brontë

April 14, 1845

 

 

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The Brontës and Book Clubs

Book clubs love the Brontës, and yet Nightwalker is a strange, new twist on their story, so I’m very excited to announce that a book club is reading Anne Brontë Nightwalker right now! This is a first for me, and a new and wondrous feeling. Thank you Renee Rockweiler Wilson for sharing this pic.  And thank you Andrew Jalbert and Julia Pearson for welcoming Nightwalker into your group.

 

 

 

Tonight, via video, I will be meeting the club and answering questions.  This is another first for me!  I’m a bit nervous, but really looking forward to engaging with readers and hearing their thoughts on Anne’s adventure. For any book clubs out there, please know that I’m happy to participate with your group via person, phone, or video.  You can reach me at geahaff@gmail.com.

 

Until then . . . Good Reading!

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win one of three signed first edition copies of Anne Brontë Nightwalker by Gea Haff!

 

I am a huge Goodreads fan.  It is my favorite, go to site for everything on books, reading and writers.  There’s hundreds of reading groups and it’s fun to make friends with other readers who share your tastes and obsessions.  Plus, Goodreads gives away thousands of books for free each year.  Check it out!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Anne Brontë by Gea Haff

Anne Brontë

by Gea Haff

Giveaway ends January 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

The Goodreads Giveaway is open for entries on December 13th and will run to January 7th.

 

 

 

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker is here!

tenderWhat happens when you work Fire/EMS and read way too much gothic English Literature?  Anne Brontë Nightwalker!

 

Nightwalker is here and available on Amazon in paperback and kindle.  If you enjoy reading about literature, the Brontes, blood and EMS (a strange combination, I know!) then you may find it darkly entertaining. Thank you all my friends for your warm-hearted support and encouragement. Your kind words have given me courage.

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Special thanks to Ayesha Pande, Marinda Williams, Ericka Adams Cole, Dana Isaacson, Joe Havel, Ruben Munoz, Rick Rizzo, George Izquierdo, Patrick Knowles, Julie MacKenzie, and Randy Brooks for reading/polishing my manuscript or patiently answering my questions on realms outside my experience.

 

And also, of course, my darling beautiful husband, Rob Haff, who always supports my most impractical, outlandish pursuits. You, my darling, are a prince.

 

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Nightwalker Proof is Here!

Anne Brontë Nightwalker proof arrived in the mail and I have deemed it acceptable. Progress is being made!  This means the paperback will be ready any day now.  Next step is the Kindle formatting.  On track for November 24th!

 

nightwalkerproof

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Brontë Inspired Novels of 2016

2016 has been a good year for Bronte inspired Novels. Three fun books have been released so far and Anne Brontë Nightwalker will be added to the list on October 31st.  In the meantime, here’s some entertaining fiction to keep your Brontë cravings satisfied:

 

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

 

Madwoman Upstairs

 

This has all kinds of Brontë fun.  An orphan girl, a foreign university, (Oxford!), a handsome but surly professor, a crumbling attic, and missing Brontëana.  Throw in some mystery and romance and you have The Madwoman Upstairs, a play on Mr. Rochester’s deranged (or was she?) and mysterious tenant locked in his attic in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  Catherine Lowell writes with a sharp wit and brisk pace, and she knows her way around English literature.

 

More than anything, I began to hate women writers. Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Browning, Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf. Bronte, Bronte, and Bronte. I began to resent Emily, Anne, and Charlotte—my old friends—with a terrifying passion. They were not only talented; they were brave, a trait I admired more than anything but couldn’t seem to possess. The world that raised these women hadn’t allowed them to write, yet they had spun fiery novels in spite of all the odds.

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And in a declaration every passionate female lover of Victorian lit surely must agree with, she writes:

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The curtains were blood-red and drawn. This was not an office. It was a small library, two storeys high, with thin ladders and impractical balconies and an expansive ceiling featuring a gaggle of naked Greeks. It was the sort of library you’d marry a man for.

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I devoured The Madwoman Upstairs in four days and as I wrote in my Goodreads review:  Reader, I loved it!

~

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Jane Steel by Lyndsay Faye

 

Jane Steele and similarities Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre was a rebel.

She broke the rules and went her own way despite overwhelming barriers to self-fulfillment.  Lydsay Faye’s, Jane Steel, inspired by our beloved Ms. Eyre, is not only a rebel, she’s a serial killer.  And she’s funny as hell.

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Karen, one of my favorite reviewers on GR and wickedly funny herself, describes Jane Steele so much better than the publisher does.  She writes,

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this follows the life and bloody trail of jane steele, whose experiences mirror Jane Eyre in some ways, but is a much easier character for a modern reader to applaud. don’t get me wrong, Jane Eyre is a great book, but i personally get a little impatient with the way she sabotages her own happiness based on her notions of propriety or morality and the conventions of her time. it’s all perfectly reasonable behavior when you’re reading with your scholar-glasses on, but it’s not always easy to shelve those modern sensibilities that would prefer jane push up her sleeves and call rochester out on his bullshit instead of quietly absconding to suffer alone on that moral high ground.

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this jane is always pushing up her sleeves, but mostly to avoid getting blood all over them.

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But as Ms. Steele says in her defense,

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Though I no longer presumed to have a conscience, I have never once lacked feelings.

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Goodreads reviewers loved this book.  I’m still reading, but it captured me right from the start.  This Jane has a strong, compelling and mischevious voice.  This Jane is not as pure and innocent as Charlotte’s Jane, and yet she has a vulnerability that makes you root for her just the same.

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Nelly Dean:  A Return to Wuthering Heights by Alison Case

 

Nelly Dean

 

I have not yet read this re-imagining of Wuthering Heights as told by the masochistically loyal servant, Nelly Dean, but it’s at the top of my tbr list.  I’ve read Emily Brontë’s masterpiece countless times and I see it entirely new with every reading.  In my 20s I thought it was wildly romantic.  In my 30s I thought it was incredibly pagan.  In my 40s, after a decade on the fire department working with alpha males, I thought Heathcliff was an abusive and oppressive psychopath and saw Cathy as a self-indulgent, histrionic, head case.  Now, I’m really curious to hear what Nelly Dean thinks of it all.

 

Author Alison Case is a professor of English at Williams College and the word on the street is that she knows her English Lit.  With a background in Victorian Studies, Narrative Theory, and Gender Studies, I’m sure she has plenty of ideas about this intensely violent love story.  Or is it a hate story?  Either way, who can get enough Wuthering Heights?  Reviewers agree, that Case handles this retelling adeptly while maintaining the mystery and mood.

I truly love the trend in Brontë inspired Novels, and hope it continues.

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The Luscious Dark Cover Art of Patrick Knowles

Bronte B RED Orig Crop 3Finding the right cover artist for Anne Bronte, Nightwalker was no easy task.  I’d spent weeks working with a talented, well-known designer but 400 dollars later (the deposit), I let him go because the cover just wasn’t quite right.  The mood was wrong.  The colors were off.  Inspired by the Victorian undertones of my novel, he was creating a dreamy, romantic palette despite the fact Nightwalker takes place entirely at night and is about blood, killing, and EMS.  It’s also about the Brontës and literature and I admit, this is tricky swirl of elements to capture in a single image. Then I found Patrick Knowles and he just got it.

 

He captured the playful darkness of the story.  He nailed the mood, the ambience, the vibe.  He incorporated images from the book into his design:  Anne’s cat Ivanhoe, a wolf, the moon, stars.  And he was an utter dream to work with.

 

Unlike my first designer who was very professional and fair, but limited his revisions and grew increasingly frustrated with me, Patrick was incredibly generous with his time.  I have no doubt driven him crazy with my emails and requests that have extended far beyond our finish date.  But, he’s an incredibly gracious and classy man.  Perhaps this is why he’s done the calligraphy for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and for the Christening of their son Prince George.

 

I personally love typography and hand lettering, a dying art, and this is what initially drew me to Patrick’s work.  His art has a literary flare, a playful and mysterious sophistication, that I find very appealing.  His cover design won’t work for any genre, but it fit for Nightwalker, which interweaves literary elements and historical biography into a gothic, supernatural thriller.

 

Here’s some of his work:

 

Moriarty-frnt-72

 

BoM-front

CTTE-frnt

 

jet-engine

Jet engine 3D modeling and hand lettering

 

For more on Patrick Knowles, you can visit his site at www.patrickknowlesdesign.co.uk

 

Patrick Knowles logo

 

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker coming Halloween 2016!

In case you’re wondering what it’s all about . . .

 

BackCopyScreenShot

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A Letter from Charlotte Bronte

Why I read the Brontës

 

Jane EyreLately, I have been immersing myself in the life of the Brontes because I am in love with their books (Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall) and also because Charlotte, Emily, and Anne amaze and inspire me.  These young women lived through incredible loss and hardship, (that’s a whole other blog), and still they remained loyal to their imaginations and true to themselves.  Sadly, Charlotte was the only one of her sisters who lived beyond 30, dying at 38.  Anne died at 29.  Emily at 30.  And, yet this 19th century trio of English writers left a legacy of lasting beauty and wholly original thought.  Despite the overwhelming obstacles that continually assailed them, they NEVER made excuses.  They rose above.

 

Inspiration

 

I am always on the look out for inspiration, which I consider a defense of the spirit, and when I came across the following letter from 16 year-old Charlotte (Jane Eyre) to her best friend Ellen Nussey, I couldn’t help being inspired by her ideals.  What strikes me is not the eloquence of the writing, but the depth of thought, desire for virtue, and love of ideas. This is a letter written by a 16 year-old girl!  Can our day and age produce teenagers capable of this mindstream? Keep in mind Charlotte was a poor clergyman’s daughter who had far less access to books and education than we do.

 

“Dear Ellen,

I believe we agreed to correspond once a month; that space of time has now elapsed since I received your last interesting letter, and I now therefore hasten to reply.  Accept my congratulations on the arrival of the ‘New Year’, every succeeding day of which will I trust, find you wiser and better in the true sense of those much used words. The first day of January always presents to my mind a train of very solemn and important reflections, and a question more easily asked than answered, frequently occurs, viz.: How have I improved the past year, and with what good intentions do I view the dawn of its successor? These, my dearest Ellen, are weighty considerations which (young as we are) neither you nor I can too deeply or too seriously ponder.

 

I am sorry your two great diffidences, arising, I think, from the want of sufficient confidence in your own capabilities, prevented you from writing to me in French, as I think the attempt would have materially contributed to your improvement in that language. You very kindly caution me against being tempted by the fondness of my sisters to consider myself of too much importance, and then in a parenthesis you beg me not to be offended. O! Ellen, do you think I could be offended by any good advice you may give me? No, I thank you heartily, and love you, if possible, better for it.

 

. . .

 

I am glad you like Kenilworth; it is certainly a splendid production, more resembling a Romance than a Novel, and in my opinion one of the most interesting works that ever emanated from the great Sir Walter [Scott’s] pen. I was exceedingly amused at the characteristic and naive manner in which you expressed your detestation of Varney’s character, so much so indeed, that I could not forbear laughing aloud when I perused that part of your letter; he is certainly the personification of consummate villainy, and in the delineation of his dark and profoundly artful mind, Scott exhibits a wonderful knowledge of human nature, as well as surprising skill in embodying his perceptions so as to enable others to become participators in that knowledge.

 

Excuse the want of news in this very barren epistle, for I really have none to communicate.  Emily and Anne beg to be kindly remembered to you.  Give my best love to your mother and sisters, and as it is very late permit me to conclude with the assurance of my unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable affection for you.

Adieu, my sweetest Ellen;
I am ever yours,
Charlotte”
January 1, 1833

 

Essence of the Brontës

I came across the above letter in this fascinating and charmingly opinionated compilation of essays and letters by Muriel Spark, another writer deeply inspired by the Brontës.

“How have I improved the past year, and with what good intentions do I view the dawn of its successor?”

Thoughts

 

This letter may sound pretentious to some, but Charlotte wasn’t pretending anything–she cared intensely about all the points in her letter.  Improvement, the study of French, a love of literature, and a striving for virtue were lifelong preoccupations.  It sounds strange in today’s world of social media madness that two teenage girls could converse like this.  (How can our schools eradicate cursive?!!!)  It goes to show that we become what we direct our attention toward.  What we read or don’t read, what we watch or scan or write becomes a part of our mindstream.  Anyone who thinks it doesn’t is in denial.  Whether we elevate or degrade our own minds and therefore our spirits is entirely up to us.

 

No matter what we see, no matter what we suffer, we are responsible for our quality of mind.  There are no excuses.

 

Charlotte writes to Ellen that “Scott exhibits a wonderful knowledge of human nature, as well as surprising skill in embodying his perceptions so as to enable others to become participators in that knowledge.”  If only she knew at 16, that one day she too would do just that!  Her impossible dreams and lofty striving were not in vain and so, she has touched a million hearts.   Bravo Charlotte!

 

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