New Cover for a New Lady in Yellow

New Cover for a New Lady in Yellow

 

It was a long, slow journey to Belden House. As the train chugged slowly northward, Veronica felt as if she were travelling to some far off country, a wild nether region of tree lines and shadows at the far end of the world. The industrial clutter of the city gradually gave way to flowering meadows, rolling, green hills, and wild, open moorland under a darkening sky. Who would have thought the land could be so empty, that she could feel so alone?

Like the train, the long, slow Revision goes on….

Many of you know I have been revising and expanding my Victorian Gothic Novel The Lady in Yellow from novella to full novel length. It was a fun book to write and is fun to expand, bring out more backstory and deepening the romance element between my heroine Veronica Everly and her handsome employer, Rafe de Grimston. I have also increased the suspense by waiting longer to reveal the dark family secret.

Its no mystery to the reader that the de Grimston’s are cursed with lycanthropy, but it is to Veronica. But the reader shares in the menace because non one knows the secret of the lady in yellow until the very end.

I originally intended The Lady in Yellow to be a short story. The novella seemed very long already, but my initial readers left reviews, mostly on Smashwords, suggesting that I should develop the story and characters more, especially the romantic potential. Giving more backstory about the wolf girl also throws a menacing shadow over Veronica’s discoveries as they unfold.

I thought I could have this revision finished by February 1, but as with most projects, it is taking longer. We want it to be good! I am aiming now for a march re-release. I hope you will check in and give it read.

 

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The New Gothic Revival

The New Gothic Revival

I grew up an organic time, close to nature. Mothers stayed home to take care of the children. We played outside, ran through the woods, played games in the streets, stayed out until twilight when we were called in for supper. Television only came in black and white. I remember my grandparents on my father’s side, rather medieval French Canadians who took my brother and I to a cathedral to attend High Mass sung in Latin — well they had the first color TV I’d ever seen. At Christmas we gathered around it to watch the Wizard of Oz waiting in breathless anticipation for the moment when Dorothy opened the door to Oz, seen in full technicolor for the first time.

I’m not sure about other kids, but I was a voracious reader. My father encouraged me, giving me all the classics as well as the new phenomenon The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I spent my whole 10th summer reading it. For me that book paled in comparison to Titus Groan and the much more Gothic Gormenghast Trilogy. I loved fairy tales especially and not only read them, but began making up my own, writing them in pencil on lined paper while sitting in the shade of our mock orange tree. Like Jo in Little Women, II dreamed of writing books. There was a large field behind my best friend’s house with an enormous oak tree. There I would sprawl on a large branch with a book and bag of apples and spend hours reading and munching away.

When I got older, I would spend my whole allowance on books. There was a drug store in my very small town with a rack full of pocket paper backs, including collections of weird tales. They were a bit adult and disturbing for me, but I was quickly addicted. In our small local library — I might have read every book working my around the shelves — I found interesting collections of fairy tales re-tellings, and ghost stories  like The Haunted Looking Glass, including stories by Wilkie Collins, Algernon Blackwood, M.R.James, Robert Louise Stevenson, all illustrated by Edward Gorey. I never forgot the tale of The Monkey’s Paw with its warning to careful what you wish for.

Then came the years of Jane Eyre and Wuthering heights, Great Expectations, Edgar Allen Poe, and all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson… always the dark overcast, the ancient ruins, stately tombs, castles and inbred aristocratic families. There were the wild and fated romances of the Brontes and Daphne DuMaurier’s haunting Rebecca. I read Dracula every winter for years.

When I finally completed my BA degree, it was in English Literature/ Creative Writing. I was publishing poetry and won a couple of prizes for my weird creations, full of witchery and earth magic. I wanted to write fiction, but my professors taught us to be snobs and I had no desire to write mainstream fiction about failed relationships, addicts, disease and death, or being crushed by society. I began to dread expressing the ‘mood’ I was always accused of filling my poetry with. (Now I know that’s ‘atmosphere’.)

I had to move to London to find my stories. Because of my love of the British Gothic Mystery and Romance stories, I suppose it was a kind of coming home.  Living in the land of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, I was amazed to discover that they weren’t making that stuff up!

Anne Rice revived the Gothic Tradition in the 1970s with her classic Interview with a Vampire. Her books had a huge following and a powerful impact on popular culture. Lately we have had Twilight, but though Stefani Myers uses Gothic monsters like vampires and werewolves, I’m not sure her books are Gothic. What do you think?

In the 1980s I found a copy of The Bloody Chamber in a bookshop and was electrified. I wanted to write like her. In England I found Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood and I wanted to write like her. I have done so and all of the short stories I wrote under the influence of these modern Gothic authors have been published. I am unknown, so those Gothic Faery Tales are yet to be collected under one cover. Someday… Brides of Darkness shall be brought out to my dedicated fans… 🙂

Now I am releasing the novels I have been working on over the past 13 years. I aim to reignite the old Gothic style of atmosphere and suggestion, dark shadows (I used to RUN home from school to watch that!) lurking menace, doomed love and sorcery.

I do not wish to glamorize the darkness, but rather peer behind the spangled veil. What one finds there, is the essence of the Gothic thrill that has such sway in some of our imaginations.

Angela Carter werewolf image found at www.bluebeany.com

Get my novel The Roses of the Moon I: Mara on Amazon Kindle Books

The Roses of the Moon I – Mara

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The Lady in Yellow

The Lady in Yellow, or Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with Werewolves

Its also like Jane Eyre with werewolves which is also like Beauty and the Beast as are so many such romances.

I totally loved writing this novella. It was inspired by a photograph by Sir Simon Marsden of a Medieval mural in a chateau in France that shows a lady in a yellow gown in the jaws of a wolf. Its is a lot like this, but much more sexual. The Lady in Yellow very much enjoys being carried off by the wolf. I have figured out that werewolves are really metaphors for over-sexed men, rampaging beasts, wolves as they are still known to this day. In Sir Simon’s  tale, the lady was a beautiful libertine who wore a yellow dress. I used this story as a starting point for my tale of Veronica Everly, a Victorian governess who takes a position at  the remote Belden House to teach a pair of identical and androgynous twins. She soon finds herself in the midst of terrible events rooted in an ancient curse form the side of their French mother, Sovay. Veronica falls in love with their father, Rafe de Grimston who forces her to take a stand she cannot even bear to contemplate.

I have been working on a cover which is difficult because I don’t know my way around digital art. I haven’t been able to do what I would like,which is to use Simon Marsden’s picture on the cover with color added – especially the yellow dress. So far I have this:

I’m not sure I can use it… but its a start. That’s Lily Langtrey who looks  very much like my heroine. Veronica.

This is the opening of The Lady in Yellow

The Lady in Yellow

by Alyne de Winter

Chapter One

“You must understand, the twins are a bit difficult. Am I correct in seeing in your cover letter that you have had experience with a mad child?”

The agent leveled his assessing gaze at Veronica through a pince nez perched on the end of his long, elevated nose.

“Yes. By God’s grace I was able to help her to live an almost normal life. Sequestered but normal.”

He sniffed, nodded.

“The twins are merely unusual. They are identical. White enough to be albinos, but their eyes are pale green. They are also, well, androgynous. Have you ever met a person about whom is was impossible to tell whether they were male or female? That is the case with the twins. So the family decided to name them one for a girl and one for a boy. The boy is called Jacques, and the girl is Jacqueline.”

“Are they French?”

“On their mother’s side. They actually own a chateau in the Auvergne but Mr. Rafe de Grimston spends all of his time trying to sell it. The family fortune is in a terrible shambles since the tragic loss of his wife. She had all the money, you see.”

“So, I shall not see much of him.”

“Indeed. Mr. de Grimston is rarely at home. This position requires a great deal of responsibility and endurance, Miss Everly. You will have to make many decisions on your own.”

The agent looked Veronica up and down, squinted as if he were scrutinizing her for cracks. She smiled, straightened her shoulders, grateful for the support of her stays. The agent went on.

“Mrs. de Grimston was a very elegant, very beautiful woman. Her children adored her and have refused to accept a governess in her place. But you, Miss Everly, pretty as you are….. Forgive me, but why would such an attractive girl as you are choose to work when you could have your pick of gentlemen?”

“Well, Sir, my parents are dead so I must support myself. And I do thoroughly enjoy teaching. I got used to all types of children growing up at Saint Mary’s.”

“Are you a religious girl, Miss Everly?’

“But of course. Saint Mary’s is a religious institution. We attended Mass every day, though I am not as conscientious about it as I used to be.”

Frowning and biting his lip, the agent flipped through Veronica’s paperwork, scrutinizing it again. Then he looked up at her.

“Very well then.” He sighed. “Though you are young….What is it? Twenty-one? Your references are impeccable.  Especially the report of your success with the mad child. I will give you the position. Just be aware that the journey to Belden House takes three days and nights by train. You will be far from all you know, and those who know you.”

“I’m sure I shall make new friends,” Veronica said brightly. “I am so looking forward to this.”

The contract signed, Veronica’s curiosity got the better of her.

“May I ask, Sir, what happened to Mrs. de Grimston?”

The agent cleared his throat. “That is a mystery Miss Everly. No one knows for sure….”

Tiffany Cole

A very nice writer girl, Tiffany Cole will review this story on April 23rd, so I must have it up on Kindle by then. Find her at:

http://www.honestcrits.com/:

 

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