Tag Archives: anne brontë

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!

 

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker now available on Wattpad for Free!

motme__wattpad_by_girlscoutlin343-d4t0i4nMy debut novel, Anne Bronte Nightwalker is now available on Wattpad for free! You can read it on your computers, phones, or tablets with the app. It was originally slated for release Halloween in soft cover and Kindle, but those versions have been pushed back until Thanksgiving, November 24th, because I am an OCD/Perfectionist and the cover was slightly off-center.  (Ah, the joys of self-publishing!)

 

However, I set a date and wish to keep my word, (plus I love defying capitalism and giving things away) so I’m sharing my Wattpad version with the world today.

 

For free!  Woohoo!

 

What is Wattpad?  Wattpad is a community of readers and writers coming together to discover, create and share their thoughts and stories.  Writers such as Margaret Atwood, Hugh Howey, and Cory Doctorow have shared their work on Wattpad for free because they believe literature and story belong to everyone regardless of how much money one has.  You can also find classics on there such as works by Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy and many more, all available to anyone for free.

 

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And so, in the spirit of generosity, I offer up Anne Brontë Nightwalker with no expectation of financial reward, only the fervent hope that a single soul may derive pleasure from my story.

 

If you like it feel free to post a review on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31824187-anne-bronte-nightwalker

 

I hope you enjoy!

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Chapter One of Anne Brontë Nightwalker

I like my blood warm. I find cold blood as appetizing as an old stale cup of coffee. It’s hard to choke down, but then again I’m finicky. Regardless, I’ve never had access to a blood bank. Our lives are nothing like TV. For us there is no daylight, no friends, lovers or family. We do not travel in packs. We’re more like the clouded leopard or spotted jaguar, rare creatures, besieged by modernity, strangely fragile despite our steel strength. We are shy, solitary creatures—especially me. Thus, I haven’t seen one of my kind for 50 years, having perfected the art of lying low. Camouflage and evasion are my great skills. Ten years is the length of commitment I give any place or any job. After that, it’s hard to explain looking like a 29-year-old. I’ve spent nine years and nine months in this cold mountain town and soon my time here must come to an end.

 

As a mortal, I was plain, but since the turning all my physical qualities have intensified, becoming deeper and more striking. My hair is the color of night, cut in jagged edges above my shoulders, evidence of my desperation in the wake of obliterating fever. I wear it pulled back, hidden beneath a low navy work cap. My eyes are blue violet: intense and startling. When light hits them, they shine like a wolf’s. I hide them behind a sleek pair of safety glasses, prescription, I lie, that cuts down the sheen. My skin is white. Not cream-colored or fair, but a pure porcelain white like Michelangelo’s Carrera. Beautiful for a Venus or a Persephone, but unnatural for a human woman. Then again, I’m not human.

 

Or am I?

 

Nearly 200 years have passed and I’m still unsure what to call myself. Night Walker is what I’ve settled on. So much kinder sounding than demon or predator or that most heinous word of all: Vampire.

 

Long ago I was a teacher and then a writer, but now I am a tender of broken bodies and injured souls. The word they use today is paramedic. Some call me ambulance girl.

 

Tonight, heaven is brilliantly dark with a net of stars thrown above our heads so incandescent they illuminate the forest. My partner Dana peers through the headlights into the darkness. She is driving fast and lacks my night vision, though her eyes are young and strong. She likes to be in control and so always drives, which is fine with me. I prefer to be in back with the patients. It’s easier to ward off starvation that way.

 

We are, as Dana puts it, “trolling for trauma” in a well-stocked ambulance courtesy of Asheville EMS. I’ve been a medic since the Crimean War. Dana Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, has been one only six months, and as she goes to nursing school during daylight hours, she is my partner on the night shift.

 

We are as opposite as the sun and moon. Dana’s blonde hair cascades down her back in a silken ponytail she refuses to secure. She’s all femininity but there’s an assertiveness to her that hints at whips and knee-high, lace-up boots. An alpha female in a Delilah’s body, she chafes at my slender, youthful authority.

 

She pulls out her glittering phone and starts texting.

 

“Who are you seducing tonight?” I ask.

 

She glances over at me wickedly. “Someone new and tasty.”

 

“Please tell me he’s not married.”

 

“Like Tom? I’m over him. All he talked about was fires and hunting. Boring.”

 

“He was a firefighter. A married firefighter.”

 

“That’s not my fault. Maybe if his wife wasn’t fat, he wouldn’t go looking for someone else.”

 

“She’s nine months pregnant!”

 

Dana ignores me and taps at her phone with one hand while steering with the other. Occasionally she glances up at the road. Winter is here and the naked trees flash by in the violet moonlight, spectral as ghosts.

 

In a flash, I grab the phone out of her hand. Even weak, I’m faster and stronger than any human. “You’re going to get someone killed,” I say. “Watch the road.”

 

“You have no right to take my phone.”

 

“Texting and driving are against policy and I’m your supervisor. I do have the right.”

 

“Great. You’re in one of your moods tonight. Is it that time of the month?”

 

“Werewolves of London” wells out of the radio and I turn it up loud. After thirty years, this song never fails to thrill me. London and darkness and life. England. Dana begins singing at the top of her lungs as she whips the truck around hairpin turns like a demented chariot driver.

 

Ahoooooo, Werewolves of London,” Dana howls. Despite the cold, she rolls the window down to feel the wind rip through her hair. As she howls, her breath puffs with steam. The song infects me and I can’t help but move with the beat. My defenses are slipping. Yes, it is that time of month, but not in the way Dana is thinking. I’m famished. It’s been a strangely quiet two weeks on the ambulance and I’ve gone too long without a meal. I’m weakening and if I don’t feed soon, I’ll become unacceptably vulnerable. I shouldn’t have let things get this far, but this is the price I pay for refusing to hunt like the rest of my kind.

 

“Come on, Anne! Let loose, sister!”

 

The music sweeps me up, slipping through my near-constant composure. “Ahoooooo,” I howl long and clear. Dana joins in. Outside, a pack of dogs begins singing in the night. With wide blue eyes Dana looks at me then laughs, head back, voice the sound of shattering glass.

 

“Are you reading Dracula again?” she asks when the song winds down. She’s noticed the battered paperback tucked beside me on the seat. For a girl so frivolous, her powers of perception are surprisingly keen. “How many times are you going to read that? I thought you hated genre fiction.”

 

Dracula is a classic. Bram Stoker is hardly genre fiction.”

 

“Oh, my bad. I thought it was about vampires. You really should read Twilight. It’s right up your alley. Vampires with a conscience. Compassionate, pacifist, virgin, vegetarian vampires. It makes me want to puke. I want my vampires slutty and violent.”

 

“Until they rip out your throat. Nothing too sexy about that.”

 

“Unless I’m doing the ripping.”

 

Despite her constant chatter, I’m happy to have her as my partner. She’s the perfect foil to work with. All gold hair and abundant cleavage like the quintessential California girl she is. When we’re together men look right past me, their eyes finding her like a homing pigeon streaking toward the castle. She is the queen and I am content to remain in her shadow.

 

“I wish you could take my Lit class for me. It’s boring as hell and I’m about to flunk out. I’m gonna be a nurse. Why the fuck do I need to take this crap?”

 

“Because you’re getting an education. A well-educated young lady should be familiar with the classics. What class is it?”

 

“Nineteenth Century English Lit. Professor Hardcastle expects me to read books that are almost two centuries old. How does reading books written by a bunch of dead virgins help me make a living? Do you realize not one of the women we’ve read all semester ever had sex?” Dana begins counting them off on her fingers. “Emily, Charlotte, Anne, Jane. Well, actually Charlotte Brontë had sex and then died nine months later. Can you believe her morning sickness was so bad she starved to death? How’s that for divine punishment?”

 

I wince.

 

“What can they possibly know about life?”

 

“There’s more to life than sex.”

 

“Like what?”

 

I remain silent, my fallback response to so many questions.

 

“I was wondering, Anne . . .” She turns and smiles sweetly at me. “My paper is due next week, and I was thinking maybe you could help me with it. All you ever do is read and you’re so eloquent.”

 

“Of course,” I say, amazed. Never before has she made a request of me other than diverting to the mall for a shopping spree. “What would you like to discuss?”

 

“Well, actually, I was hoping you could just write it for me.”

 

“Write it for you! That’s cheating. I’d be doing you a disservice, not to mention undermining the entire educational tradition.”

 

“God, Anne, don’t be so dramatic. People do it all the time. I could just buy something online, but Professor Hardcastle can smell a cyber paper like a bomb-sniffing dog. He already kicked one student out of school for it.”

 

“As he should have. Professor Hardcastle sounds like a man of integrity. A quality you might learn to value, especially when it comes to men.”

 

“He’s a stuck-up asshole who thinks he’s God’s gift to Asheville, North Carolina, just because he has a double PhD from Oxford.”

 

“Oxford? How did he end up here?”

 

“Hell if I know. I have no idea why he deigned to stoop to our little mountain town. Maybe he can’t get a job anywhere else because he’s such a fucking jerk.”

 

“What happened?” I demand.

 

“What happened? When?” she asks innocently.

 

“Between you and him.”

 

“Nothing.” She presses her glossed lips together and resolutely stares ahead. The cold, hard road slips beneath us, fortunately free from snow.

 

“Then why the animosity?”

 

“Because he’s failing me. He gave me an F on my last paper. So I suggested we discuss my performance over drinks and perhaps I could improve his impression of me. You know, make it clear where my talents truly lie.”

 

“You propositioned your professor! For a grade?”

 

“It’s his voice. That English accent! I cream my panties just hearing it. So I figured why not kill two birds with one stone?”

 

“And exactly what did he say?”

 

“He acted all indignant. Said that I affronted his honor to think him capable of such a thing.” Dana laughs. “‘Suit yourself,’ I told him. ‘Go beat off to Anne Brontë if that floats your boat.’”

 

“What?!” I stammer.

 

“He totally has an Anne Brontë fetish. It’s weird. Guess he didn’t like my take on her.”

 

“What was your take?” I ask, unsure I want to know.

 

“That she’s a stuck-up, self-righteous, morally indignant, sexually repressed prude. I don’t see anything remotely appealing about her. She thinks she’s so much better than everyone else. She’s totally cold. If her character Agnes Grey were my governess, I’d stab her with a pair of knitting shears.”

 

I’m speechless.

 

“Of course, he didn’t see it that way. Said she was a rebel. ‘A maverick’ he called her like she’s freakin’ Madonna or something. Said she was way ahead of her time. She wrote of things no one wanted to hear, which is my point exactly!” Dana slaps the steering wheel for emphasis.

 

“Did he say anything else?”

 

“He claims that she was the bravest of all the sisters. And the strongest. What a load of horse crap. The man has a PhD from Oxford and he doesn’t even know that Emily was the brave one.”

 

“Why do you say that?”

 

Wuthering Heights. Any woman who thinks haunting a man to the point of psychopathic insanity is romantic—now that’s a maverick. Personally, I think all the Brontës were off their rockers. All those fevers and moors. No wonder Branwell became a drug addict. That poor boy had to grow up surrounded by all those PMSing, sexually frustrated sisters. He sounds like the only fun one of the bunch. I would definitely do him. I would have rocked that man’s world.”

 

I stare at her in amazement. “Gosh. I never imagined you gave them so much thought.” This is longest conversation we’ve ever had on an even remotely intellectual subject.

 

“I don’t, but I’ve sat through weeks of Professor Hardcastle raving about them and he’s still failing me. Frankly, I’m glad he spared me from his conceited, snooty self. I honestly think I hate him. Which reminds me, I have some PB tonight.”

 

I flash her a disapproving look. “You know how I feel about personal business on shift. You have all day to go shopping. Why can’t you do it on your own time? It doesn’t look professional for a woman in uniform to be perusing the shoe department while on duty.”

 

“This PB you just might approve of,” she says mysteriously.

 

“I doubt it.” I sigh. After six months of working together, Dana remains staunchly impervious to my influence.

 

“Professor Hardcastle is giving a talk at Malaprop’s tonight.” She glances at me when I don’t respond. “You know, the coolest bookstore in town? Although the Battery Park Book Exchange is pretty cool too. They have a champagne bar. Anyway, he said if I come he’ll give me extra credit and allow me to rewrite my paper.” She looks at me imploringly.

 

I stare out the window. The forest flashes by. I should be out hunting or soon I’ll become too weak to work, but I haven’t killed an animal in years. I abhor the feeling of a warm, pulsing creature being drained of life in my frozen hands. I no longer have the heart for it.

 

“Please, Anne. You don’t have to go inside. You can wait in the truck and read your book in the dark. It’s for my education. I know you hate public places, but this is a matter of me making it through college. My future lies in the balance.”

 

Suddenly a call comes out over the radio and my heart leaps in my chest. Here is my chance to feed!

 

“Rescue 1, respond to 29 Thornton Road for a one-year-old, fever.”

 

“Damn! Hardcastle starts in 40 minutes and we’ve got to run on a fucking baby.”

 

My mouth waters and I take a deep breath to settle myself. “We’ll make it fast,” I say.

 

Dana looks at me in surprise and smiles.

 

In a rare gesture, I smile back. “Step on it.”

 


 

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Dear Sweet Fierce Anne Brontë

Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell HallAnne Brontë, the fiercest Brontë of all?

 

With a trio of Bronte sisters to choose from, two of whom are perennial favorites, plus their wildly wayward brother Branwell, why write a novel about Anne?  Grave, quiet, serious Anne?  Why not Charlotte of Jane Eyre fame?  Or Emily, creator of the savagely gothic Wuthering Heights?  Why little Anne Brontë, author of the less popular and more realistic novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?

 

Let me tell you!

 

Because there’s so much more to Anne Bronte than meets the eye.  Because Anne was a dark horse.  Pure stealth.  She was the littlest sibling, the sickest one, the quietest and shyest, the girl everyone thought was the most fragile and delicate when in reality she was FIERCE.  Anne didn’t cave.  She never surrendered to the people around her.  She didn’t argue or scream or stamp her feet.  She simply did what she wanted to do, very quietly, and before anyone  realized what had happened she’d written two subversive novels by the age of 29, worked the longest and hardest of anyone in her family besides Papa, and never EVER complained.

 

Anne could keep secrets.  Big, juicy, dangerous secrets.  Secrets that could bring an entire house down.  She knew the dark night of the soul.  It almost swallowed her whole when she was seventeen.  Anne fought demons and won.  She fought just to breathe.  At times she was so shy she could barely speak, and so she watched and listened, learning about all manner of things a gentle virgin in the 1800’s wasn’t supposed to know.  Things like sex and bastards, alcoholism, heroin addiction, and betrayal.

 

Anne paid attention.  She saw through masks and noticed the details everyone else missed.  She wrote about the dark side, but she loved the light, and when she died at 29, on the heels of Bran and Em, Anne went out with the courage of a lion.  No crying for her.  Instead a deep, calm grace.

 

As I read Anne Bronte’s books over the years, she quietly slipped up on me.  She reminds me of a thief in the night, stealing up behind you, sliding an arm around your throat to pull you close and whisper in your ear.  I couldn’t forget her voice.  It haunted me.  Her spirit stole into my head and heart and wouldn’t leave.  And then to my utter surprise she rose from the dead to embark upon a new and dangerous adventure.  So I wrote it down and now, in Anne Brontë, Nightwalker, sweet, gentle Anne will show you just how fierce she truly is!

 

 

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker coming Halloween 2016!

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

 

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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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