And now, I give the floor to Carole and her giveaway...
Inspiration plays a big part in a writer’s life. I suppose in my case I was inspired to write my novel because I got annoyed!
Truly I did. It happened when I read that gothic romance was passé.
‘Oh really?!’ I thought to myself! ‘I don’t think so!’
I then realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to write gothic romance that contained the darkest horror I could think of!
I wanted to do this because I thought if gothic romance is perceived by many people as ‘old fashioned,’ a book your Aunt Edna would recommend, that you might think is so awfully ‘not for you,’ it’s got to change!
In order for it to change I felt, it must be more extreme. The shocks and horrors that would have satisfied publishers and readers years ago, might not be, well—shocking enough for us now!
The world has changed. We live in uncertain and violent times and our fiction should, I think, reflect those changes.
Now, I am still a huge fan and avid reader of the great gothic romances of the past and because I am, I have come up with a contest I think might be fun!
Okay, here goes: I’d like you to tell me which of these Bryonic characters curls your toes with passion!
Is it the darkly handsome Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or what about the dapper (but tortured) Maxim DeWinter in Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca or the long suffering (but very interesting) Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre?
Come on, let’s go, write it down! One name please!
All entries will be eligible to win an eBook which is actually my homage to the gothic romance genre (but with dark horror in it), The House on Blackstone Moor!
And yes, Louis Darton is a darkly handsome hero with a horrific secret.
I am looking forward to hearing from you!
Please post your answers in the comments section of this post. I will pick a winner on the 29th January.
THE HOUSE ON BLACKSTONE MOOR
“They say my father was mad, so corrupted by evil and tainted by sin that he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats savagely cut. My sisters only five and eight were gone as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother too lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in…”
Young Rose Baines discovers the savage murders of her family by her mad, incestuous father.
She is plunged into a nightmare of hell and is incarcerated in two madhouses after which she is helped to obtain a position as governess at Blackstone House.
The house is located on haunted moorland. Nothing is as it seems for Blackstone House and its inhabitants have hideous secrets. There is unimaginable horror there but there is love too--love that comes at a terrible price.
I have endeavored to create a story that is as haunting as it is terrifying. I hope it will remain with the reader long after its disturbing tale has been told.
The air was still and warm; heavy. Low clouds hugged the horizon. There was the rumble of thunder too from somewhere far away. I would have preferred to see the moors in the sunshine, the moody atmosphere made it feel grimly forbidding. I didn’t wish to spoil the children’s fun so I smiled and followed their lead.
“If you walk to town, follow along through there,” Ada pointed, “you see at the bottom of that cliff, there’s an old footpath there, you can’t miss it.”
I made a mental note of it, although I didn’t know when I might go.
The children both held onto me. “Mind your step.”
I listened, as they had already frightened me as to the moor’s dangerous conditions.
“And the weather changes so quickly too.” Simon’s voice was grave. “Sometimes an entire herd of sheep have been known to perish.”
Ada shook her head. “Not so many as that Simon don’t be such a liar!”
Simon looked angry. “It’s true, I know it is so.”
“Well,” I said. “Whether it is or isn’t, I’m certain I shall be very careful where I tread.”
Each of them, it seemed to me, was vying with the other for my attention. Ada pointed out rocks and brush and Simon spoke of yet more doom and gloom.
Suddenly, they began to pull me forward. “This is the most fantastic thing you will ever see! Oh do hurry Miss Baines!” Ada was most impatient.
Simon tapped her. “She will see it in her own good time.”
“What is it children? What do you wish me to see?”
They exchanged mysterious looks; I thought to further dramatize the situation.
“Yonder. Do you want to see the ancient stone of legend?”
“What legend is that, Simon?”
Ada spoke up. “The legend of Blackstone Moor of course.”
They began to drag me then toward a rocky mount. “Just in here.”
I was led through a narrow crevice. It quite reminded me of Stonehenge. I wondered what it could be and began to grow excited too.
Suddenly we stopped, Simon pointed at a large flat rock. “There, that’s it!”
It looked like a ledge that had been deliberately laid down. I went to touch it but Ada warned me. “Touch it only if you dare.”
“I dare!” I cried. The surface was far smoother than I would have imagined.
“See how black it is, miss?”
“Quite black!” I agreed.
Simon nodded. “It’s as black as the eternal night and do you know why it’s black
Miss Baines? It’s black with blood!”
“Yes truly! It has blackened with blood and gore too and innards and guts and things that soaked into the stone!”
“What a thing to say! Where did you hear such things?”
“I just know! Ada and I both know.”
This was the final straw, I drew him aside. “Simon,” I said. “You should know better.
This is not something either of you should think about; it’s worse for Ada since she’s younger than you. You Simon ought to know better.”
He looked down. “I suppose, but Ada’s older than you think!”
“Is she indeed, well I don’t think it appropriate, do you understand me?”
“Yes Miss Baines.”
“I don’t think it’s a subject for children. Besides, it’s probably not true anyway!”
He was agreeing with me, yet there appeared across his face the most quizzical look.
“But there were human sacrifices practiced on these moors once and all manner of dark rites too. Many people died here.”
This was making me feel sick.
“Who told you this?”
“Don’t lie to me Simon.”
“Someone, I can’t say…” Ada was watching him wide-eyed. Clearly she didn’t want him to give me a name, but I continued to press him.
At last he cracked. “Dora! It was Dora! Do you feel better now?”
“It’s not that I feel better, I just wanted to know who told you such things.”
Ada looked at me intently. “Please you won’t have Dora punished, will you?”
“No of course not, but whatever do you mean?”
Ada shook her head. “She might be severely punished that’s all.”
She quite unsettled me with that, but then I took it to mean she might be turned off without a reference. “Well I shall only speak to her about it then, alright?”
“Oh yes, miss. Thank you.”
I took their hands then and we headed back to the house, the children walking just ahead of me whispering with me just behind them wondering what they were saying.
The perfect opportunity to speak with Dora came about shortly before I turned in when she had come into ask me if I’d care for hot chocolate.
“Dora, the children mentioned ritual sacrifices on the moor. It’s not true is it?”
She began crying. Clearly I had upset her. “I am sorry! I never meant no harm Miss Baines.”
“I know you didn’t, but in the future you must not discuss fanciful matters like that with Ada or Simon, children are children after all.”
“I shan’t say no more! But please, don’t tell the mistress.”
“Of course I won’t.”
“Thank you miss.”
“I am amazed at this whole legend surely it is a fabrication, it can’t be true!”
“Oh, but it is true Miss Baines. So help me. Blackstone wasn’t the ancient name it used to be called Bloody Stone Moor because of all the sacrifices performed there, thousands over the centuries. It’s all true you see, all of it.”
I nodded and watched her leave. I was settled into my new position, but already something evil had frightened me.
Was evil here too? Would I be forever troubled by the dark forces that seemed to follow me or would I eventually know peace?
Carole Gill wrote her first story at age 8. It was science fiction. She switched to horror in her teens and has been writing ever since.
In 2000 Carole was selected by Northwest Playwrights of England for further development but found she preferred fiction writing.
Widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies, The House on Blackstone Moor, published by Vamplit is her first novel. It is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship.
Set in 19th Century Yorkshire its locales include Victorian madhouses as well as barren, wind-swept Yorkshire moors. The story is a marriage of horror and darkest gothic romance set in 19th Century England.
A former New Yorker now resident in England and residing in Yorkshire gave her the knowledge of the area the novel is set in. Also, as a great admirer of the Brontes and frequent visitor to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth she found herself nearly obsessed with recreating the gothic romantic narrative.
Having been employed in a hospital which had been historically a workhouse and asylum in Victorian times, Carole was able to add great realism to the depiction of the asylums as described in her novel.
The sequel, Unholy Testament follows in 2012.
~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.