Shhhh It’s quiet in the Ballroom. We are sitting around in a candlelit circle telling ghost stories in ominous tones. Lady B. is clutching her Paisley shawl against her mouth as Monty endeavors to scare the ladies into fits of terror, in the hope that we will all go rushing into his arms like shivering helpless females. (Well, he can hope, anyway…)
Good Evening, Ballroom Friends, and Goodnight to those of you who are just settling into your coffins to avoid the new day’s sun.
Well, it’s Gaelen here, in an October mood…
The dark and brooding side of the Regency world is a flavor of historical romance that I love exploring in my stories, especially in my Inferno Club series.
For example, in my new release, My Scandalous Viscount, my heroine gets locked in the hidden labyrinth inside the Order’s headquarters, Dante House. She worries that she won’t be able to find her way out and could up as a bloodied ghost haunting the mansion by night. And then there’s the wax museum she visits later on in the story, an homage to Madame Taussaud’s ofLondon.
WHICH, by the way, now here’s a good, gothic, creepy “aside” for you.
Madame Taussaud was an art teacher to the little princesses inVersaillesat the French Revolution. You can imagine her dilemma as soon as the Revolution took place. See for yourself what happened to her…
But–with kudos aside to the hardest-working woman in wax sculpture–I digress.
Gothic elements also reared their dark, fearsome heads in my last book, #4 in this series, My Ruthless Prince. Our tortured-hero Drake lead readers down, down into the dark cavern-sanctuary inside a mountain that once served as a temple for the evil Prometheans. Dare I mention the dungeon he spends some time in, located in the bowels of the foreboding castle nearby?
The Inferno book with the most gothic elements, however, is My Dangerous Duke. In this one, hero Rohan actually owns a haunted castle, though he’d never admit aloud that he actually does believe the Gray Lady is real. Then, later, he and heroine Kate must venture into the fabled Alchemist’s Tomb, full of deadly clockwork traps and puzzles that require quick thinking if the pair intend to get out alive.
Readers seem to relish these elements, and no wonder!Englandhas a great ghost-story tradition and a proud heritage of tales of the supernatural. Nearly every stately home in the National Trust claims at least one ghost. There are haunted shops, haunted squares, haunted churches, haunted libraries… Of course, my historical romances don’t contain any actual paranormal elements. They just have, at times, a spooky, ominous tone and I try to create an aura of palpable danger. But ultimately, like Mrs. Radcliffe, I like things to have a logical explanation.
(At least that’s the case in my adult writing. In my YA/Middle Grade series, the Gryphon Chronicles, co-written with my husband under our E.G. Foley pen name, ghosts, witches, and all sorts of spooky supernatural bits abound. One of my personal favorite passages in the Lost Heir, in fact, is where pickpocket Jake spends a night in jail and meets the Ghosts of Newgate Prison! He is able to see ghosts, y’see.)
Gaelen: Ah, here comes Lady B. now. Is story time over so soon?
Lady B: I should hope so. My awful nephew gave me palpitations of the heart with his bloody tale! He tells it much too gleefully. I’m not sure I approve.
Gaelen: But Lady B. the Sensational is all the rage, as I’m sure you are well aware, being in the first stare in all matters, yourself.
Lady B: True. But nevertheless, I have asked Lord B. to go round the house and check all the windows. I don’t want BATS or some other nasty questionable Creature of Darkness getting in. One can never be too careful.
Indeed. What about you, Fair Reader? Do you enjoy reading dark & spooky tales or watching movies/TV shows with supernatural elements?
Do you read Paranormal romance? And what about straight Horror novels/movies? I can’t do them, myself.
Harry Potter is about as dark as I care to go! I’ve tried to watch a few horror movies, but what happens to me is that I close my eyes at the bloody parts and then end up imagining something worse than what happens on screen, and then have nightmares about it! I prefer the kid version of spookiness, laced with humor. *g*
What’s the most terrifying movie you ever watched? Do you wish you hadn’t watched it?? And WHY do you think people want to be scared in their entertainment??