Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG and the Brenton Point Ghosts

It's hard to believe it's time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, but here we are on the first Wednesday of November. The IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts are CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace. Also, the group now has its own website which is a fantastic resource for writers.

My novel The Ghosts of Aquinnah will be released on December 5, which means it's now officially less than one month away! I am super excited but also feeling totally nervous and insecure about the release. I'm insecure about marketing and insecure about the book itself. I'm afraid everyone will hate it or worse that no one will read it so hating it won't even be an option.

I had all these same insecurities when Polar Night was released and I thought that I would do better the second time around. But if anything I am now much worse and the insecure voice in my head is having a field day freaking me out.

But I am going to do my best to shut my insecure voice up and focus on the joy of being able to share this book. Here's hoping I can keep that voice quiet. It's loud and obnoxious, so I may need to gag it or smother it with a pillow. :D

Brenton Point (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

For this week's ghost story I am traveling to Newport, Rhode Island, which was once the summer destination of choice for America's wealthiest families, many of whom built mansions and lavish estates along Newport's shores.

Brenton Point State Park in Newport is located right on the shore and reportedly has exquisite scenic views. But in spite of this beauty, the land itself was not very friendly to those who chose to live there.

Wealthy attorney and amateur archaeologist Theodore Davis built an estate at Brenton Point in 1876 and filled his mansion with artifacts he had taken from the Middle East while on exhibitions to find King Tut's tomb. Many claimed that these artifacts were cursed by the spirits of the Pharaohs, and the curse seemed to play out as first Davis' windmill and then his stables caught on fire and burned to the ground. 

While Davis rebuilt the windmill and stables, he was reportedly never happy on the estate from the time he moved in until his death in 1910. The property was vacant for 13 years following the death until it was purchased by Milton Budlong. The Budlong family was also miserable on the land and Budlong's children refused to live there after his death in 1941. Finally, after years of being left derelict, a fire destroyed the mansion in 1960.

The state of Rhode Island took over the estate in the 1960s and turned it into the park it is today. The ruins of the stables remain in the park and visitors have reported hearing voices and the sound of galloping hooves in the area. Many park visitors have heard a horse clopping up behind them while walking along the paths of the park, only to turn around and find no horse in sight. In addition, visitors have reported hearing ethereal voices in the gardens and around the site of the windmill.

Many rangers who work at the park refuse to enter the old estate grounds after dark. I figure if even the rangers don't want to be there, I probably wouldn't either. Although I think it would be interesting to visit during the daylight hours and see if I could hear those horses' hooves myself. :D

Happy IWSG day, all!


  1. Somehow, outdoor ghosts don't seem as spooky as indoor ghosts, do they?

    As for being insecure! Pah! No way, Julie. I'm sure this book will do just as well as Polar Night!

  2. You know, I just released Time On Her Side, a short story. My voices begin once its out there. My biggest worry is making readers mad because it was a short story with an open end.

    My dad, told me he wanted more. That it really should be a novel or a novella. He loved the premise.

    Anyway, we all get those voices.

    Oh and Sir Poops and Hair Ball would love to help promote your new book.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. I think the second book is more difficult because now there are expectations on us a authors. Will we live up to our first efforts? We just have to go on faith that we will.

  4. @Annalisa, I hope so, thanks!

    @Shelly, oh, I like open ended stories so I know I will enjoy this one. Tell Sir Poops and Hair Ball thanks, I will be in touch!

    @Alex, good point, thanks so much.

  5. I don't think you have anything to worry about. Stuff a sock in insecurity's mouth and toss her in the basement. :P

  6. It's funny, isn't it? You'd think you'd be less nervous for the next one but for some reason it doesn't work that way. I'm sure it will all be great! You just have to get through the next month! ;)

  7. I'm in the process of writing my second novel, I feel ya! Well, sort of, since we're at different stages, but I'm sure it will all have a great outcome for you. Just be prepared in a few months or so when I start asking for advice lol

    By the way, the old estate grounds? Count me in . . . to stay far away, I mean O_O

  8. I love the premise of your books and how you let your imagination carry the story. Congratulations on the upcoming release. I know the joy and jubilation comes with a price of anxiety too. May the joy win!

  9. I think it does get worse instead of better. You're always measuring yourself by your last book and shooting for something higher. :)

  10. I am so with you on the fact that if the rangers aren't going in, then no way am i going. :)

    And maybe it's okay to let that insecure voice have its say, but only for a certain period of time - set a timer, let the voice worry and complain and cry then when the timer goes off, the voice has to be quiet. :)

  11. An interesting story! I don't think I'd want to visit at night, either, but I imagine it'd be interesting during the day.

  12. @Melissa, sounds like a good plan, thanks!

    @Rachel, it is funny, I think we all just have to find ways to freak out sometimes LOL.

    @SK, oh gosh, I can't imagine having any advice to offer, except maybe what not to do LOL.

    @Julie, aww, thanks!

    @River, exactly.

    @Madeline, I love that plan. I will only let her have her say for 5 minutes then she's outta here. :D

    @Laura, that's just how I feel. No night visits for me. If I really heard a horse I'd probably have heart failure LOL.

  13. I don't think it's possible to silence those voices completely (like those pesky horses!) but I just know it'll be another winner for you. :)

    Great of dollops of luck for the launch. X

  14. LOL. Those voices of insecurity seem to have boundless energy, don't they? I so often wish I could re-direct that energy towards somthing better. Like writing!!

    I love these ghost stories... and am looking forward to 12/5!

  15. Deep breath! The insecurities over a new release don't quite go away, but I'm sure The Ghosts of Aquinnah will be awesome!

    And what a cool ghost story!

  16. Oooh! How thrilling. I want to go on an adventure and explore there too. And bah--to insecurity! Your book is going to be awesome. And I'm buying it, and ranting about you, so what do you have to fear? ;)

  17. In many ways the second release is scarier because you know what to expect. But you're ahead of the game to know to just push that nervousness away. It's going to be great!

    Brenton Point sounds suuuper creepy.

  18. I'm sure everything will go well for the release it's natural to be anxious but don't let it spoil the excitement too! Very best of luck, Julie.

  19. So you will be a twice published author and there is still insecurity? This does not bode well for those of us still hoping to publish some day. Ahem, however, I do know that your last novel was delightfully entertaining, and I expect this next one will be too. Ghosts are spine-tingly entertainment.

  20. @Shah, you're so right, the insecurity is like these ghost horses! Thanks so much.

    @Liz, yeah, I wonder why my insecurity has so much more energy than I do LOL.

    @Cherie, thank you!

    @Crystal, oh, you're awesome, thanks!

    @Nicki, that's so true, I guess that is part of it for me. Thanks!

    @Suzanne, good advice, I definitely don't want that. Thanks so much.

    @LG, aww, that's so nice, thank you!

  21. Finally got to Polar Night in my TBR last week. A few chapters in, and I'm confident in saying "Ghosts" is going to do very well, Julie. :)

    But being worried about it is natural. I was just as freaked out with my 4th story as I was the first. I'm working on the 5th and already worried if people will like it as much as the 4th. It never ends! LOL

    Mailed you your "prize" from the giveaway yesterday btw. Let me know if you don't receive it in a few days.

  22. You're insecurity is a lot like mine, but mine is for my debut, which will be coming out sometime next year. I can't wait for The Ghosts of Aquinnah to come out! If you ever want to be hosted on my blog, please let me know. I'd be happy to help any way that I can. :)

  23. Wow, your new book is already coming out in under a month? So exciting! I hope you start feeling less insecure about it, since I have no doubt that it'll be awesome! :)

  24. I offer you the same advice I myself need to follow:
    Shove those nagging fears back down your inner critic's throat, stuff a ball gag in its mouth, throw him in a cage and lock him up, shove that cage into an active volcano and then laugh maniacally as you watch it sink beneath the molten lava! Ta-da! Inner critic: effectively silenced!

    And another fantastic ghost story! I visited the Breakers when i was a kid and the mansion scarred the crap out of me- something about ow many children hadn't made it to adulthood, how huge the place was, the way the sea wind sounded beating against the huge windows- totally creepy.
    Love these, Julie- really, really do.

  25. @EJ, oh, I'm so thrilled you like Polar Night so far. Yay! And thank you for my prize, I can't wait to get it.

    @Chris, that's so nice of you, I will get in touch, thanks! And best of luck with your release, we will all be looking forward to it with you!

    @Heather, yeah, I can't really believe it. Thank you!

    @Bev, LOL, I love your advice. I can imagine that mansion was creepy, I'm creeped out just reading about your experience. So glad you like the stories!

  26. Quieting that giant voice of negativity is the hardest thing in the world. I find focusing on projecting positive energy out into the world helps to silence the devil.

    People will read your second book, and your third, and so on. No worries!

  27. I'm excited about your new book! It's going to go great! No worries. :)

  28. Julie, after reading all these spooky ghost stories and after reading Polar Night which was amazing, I don't believe you have a thing to worry about with the release of Ghosts of Aquinnah! Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on the book!

  29. It's understandable that you would be anxious so close to the release of Ghosts of Aquinnah, but like all of your fans, I have tremendous faith in you. I also can't wait to read it after I read my copy of Polar Night. My goal is to be able to read faster than you could write! It's a shame that the Brenton Point mansion burned down. It sounds like a nice quiet place to get some relaxing reading in.


  30. Sometimes we just have to go for it! Writers take risks every time they publish anything, and while publishing a book can bring on untold amounts of stress and anxiety, we must have faith in our achievement. We must trust our audience enough to know it's worth the risk to put it out there. Wishing you every success with your book, Julie.

  31. I think there would be a lot more to worry about if you weren't nervous and insecure about your new book coming out. @_@ Much as we writers need self-confidence, I don't know if we should ever be too pleased with our own work, or too confident that everyone will like it. Hrm.

    And that state park and the former estates sound pretty creepy. There are so many stories about hauntings from ancient Egyptian artifacts; I loved reading about all that stuff when I was a kid.

  32. @Isis, that sounds like a good thing to do. Thanks!

    @Tyrean, thank you!

    @Cathy, aww, thanks!

    @Julie, I appreciate that, thanks!

    @MJ, you're so right, there are always risks but they are worth it in the end. Thanks!

    @Mason, oh, I don't have any trouble believing there are lots of stories involving artifacts like that. It really was like grave robbing I think. And you're right, it would be a problem if I had no anxiety at all LOL. Thanks!

  33. I am sure the release will be FAB and everything will go awesomely. That's not even a word but you know what I mean ;) A MONTH! That's so exciting.

  34. I'm with L.G., this makes me a bit nervous too. But, it's understandable. You've raised your own expectations. What you need to do now is take a deep breath. It's going to be great!

  35. I'm really looking forward to your next book, Julie. Yay!

    Ooo! Spooky. I'd go in there with some ghostbusters.

  36. Congrats on the new release. I understand the anxiety. You're exposed and vulnerable. But you know what? So what. It's all water off a duck's back. As long as you like it and feel like you told the story you wanted to tell...that's all that matters.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

  37. Julie, what a great ghost story! The King Tut tomb seems to truly have a curse attached. Thanks for sharing this!

  38. @Vikki, I love awesomely, I'm going to start using that. Thanks!

    @Elsie, oh, don't be nervous, I am just a nutcase with everything LOL. Thanks so much.

    @Mary, thanks!! And I would go with you and the ghostbusters.

    @Michael, good point and I do really like it so I know that's what I need to remember. Thank you!

    @Mary, I'm glad you liked it! And I'm definitely glad I don't have anything from King Tut's tomb LOL.

  39. you should not feel insecure about it Julie - I'm sure it's great. Plus you had like 38 comments, well 39 now.

  40. Good number of release but still feel insecurity!!
    But Great going
    Keep up the good work

  41. I so want to visit the old estate grounds after dark. Congrats on your near release - just in time for Christmas! :)

  42. Good luck Julie, though I'm sure you will not need luck as you have the talent and drive to make this book as big a success as Polar Nights.


  43. Fear not. As long as you love your book (and it's well written, must add that) then other people will too.

  44. I'm willing to bet those insecurities remain forever. Maybe until you're Stephen King? It would be sort of nice to think he's still insecure when he puts a new book out.

    I love historically-based ghost stories!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  45. I second Melissa. Add some duct tape over that sock. You will be fine Julie.

  46. That story is SO scary! Especially because it resembles part of the backstory in my new WIP - which I'm totally not working on because like you, my launch is FREAKING ME OUT!! I like your pillow smothering idea. lol

  47. Hi Julie,

    I have a release in Decemeber, too. Maybe we can do some blog post swapping or cover/blurb spotlights? :) I'm so excited for you. The feeling of a new release doesn't get old.

  48. Welp, never going to Rhode Island. lol

    I think it's the fear of every writer that no one will like their work. Don't worry!

  49. @David, thanks for being #39! :)

    @Phil, thanks so much.

    @Michael, you're braver than I am LOL. Thanks!

    @Donna, I appreciate that, thank you!

    @Nana, I do love it so I hope you are right. Thanks!

    @Shannon, I wonder if he does still have them, I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe it is just a curse of writing. Thanks!

    @Sheena-kay, I will add the duct tape LOL. Thank you!

    @Lexa, oh how fun! And creepy too, I agree. You are welcome to borrow my pillow for the smothering LOL.

    @Brinda, oh, I'd love that! Congrats on your release! I will get in touch with you.

  50. @Debra, LOL, I have been there before but will think twice about going back. :D Thank you!

  51. *shivers* You know something's up with that property when no one wants to live there.

    Don't sweat the release, Julie. Once it's out and on it's way, it'll all be good :)

  52. @Weekend, thanks!

    @Gwen, I hope so, thank you!

  53. Hi Julie .. sounds a fascinating place to visit ... but what a strange 100 years - so now I'm glad it's a Park and can see happier times ... for whatever reason went wrong before ...

    Cheers Hilary

  54. I have a lot of faith in you and this book! I'm sure everything is going to be just fine :)

    Yeah if the rangers are afraid that's probably a hint that we shouldn't go in there after dark. I'd probably want to anyway!

  55. @Hilary, I totally agree. Cheers back to you!

    @Samantha, LOL, I'd be too chicken. Thanks so much for your encouragement, I appreciate it!

  56. Shut down that insecure voice in your mind if you can - if not, just keep telling yourself everything will be great. I'm sure it will be.

  57. So it is, Julie. We don't seem to get over the nagging insecurities.

    Wouldn't want to live on that property either.

  58. I'm sure your apprehensions are pretty normal and it's probably a good sign. I think things will turn out well and it will be a tremendous relief for you. You care and that's important.

    Special report today on the "Story Sprouts" book launch in L.A.
    Lot's of pictures in this one!

    Tossing It Out

  59. beautiful picture! Julie, i think i just may smack ya one for all the self doubt. of course your book is going to be awesome!! just wonder how many will be jealous instead...

  60. How interesting. Not sure I would have lived there longer than a few years if I was miserable.

    I wish you luck with your book. I for one can't wait to read it!

  61. Julie, I'm sure you have nothing to worry about! But I suppose it's normal for the self-doubt monster to rear his ugly head... his timing is perfect too!
    Your book will be fine.
    All the best with the new release.

  62. Your book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which I love the title by the way, is coming out on my son's birthday! So you see, It'll do great, I just know it. (: And congratulations for having come so far already with a second book. That awesome. Maybe one day, I'll be able to say the same. (:

  63. @Tonja, I'm getting better at shutting it down. Thanks!

    @JL, yeah, it seems we are just stuck with them.

    @Lee, that's a good way to look at it, I definitely care.

    @Tammy, aww, thank you!

    @TB, thanks!

    @Michelle, yeah he always has such good timing LOL. Thank you!

    @Elise, oh, how cool is that? That has to be good luck. It's funny because my birthday is the next day! I know you will be able to, no question.

  64. I can understand why you would be insecure about marketing. That's not usually where we writers shine BUT I've read the posts you've done about The Ghosts of Aquinnah and I dare say you'll do just fine and there's no way anyone could hate it :D

    Thanks for visiting my blog the other day! I appreciate the comment. And thanks for sharing this story. Creepy...the sound of a horse clopping behind you on a dark path makes me think about Sleepy Hollow. I am hopelessly addicted to that show!


  65. @Jen, oh, thank you, that's so nice of you to say! And it was my pleasure to visit your blog. :)
    Haven't watched Sleepy Hollow but I've heard great things and now you have my curiosity up!


Thank you for your comments!