Gothic Marionettes




First I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! I know I’m not alone being glad to see the backside of 2015. As the little kid said, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

Chip off the old block, I’m sure….

I have been getting back to work on the pending books. A great help has been The Nine Day Novel by Steve Windsor. I figured I owed my readers at least an attempt to get a book done in nine days. Alas, life kept intervening. As it does. But I do have two very solid and detailed outlines to work from now, and that is half the battle won! These tales should be out in the Spring if not earlier.

i have three other first drafts, so I’m in good shape. Still behind on the 5 Year Plan, but that can happen to anyone, right?

Thank you for your patience….

Gothic Theme of the Month: Puppets

At the top of this post you see fireworks. These are not only part of the New Year celebrations, they also evoke the work of one of my favorite authors, Angela Carter. Her book of short stories, The Bloody Chamber, is one that inspired me to want to write fiction, ages ago! It took living in London to find my stories, though. One of her short story collections is called Fireworks and there is a story in there called :The Loves of Lady Purple about a very erotic and sinister marionette. She also wrote an award winning novelThe Magic Toyshop, which is extremely weird and deals with this puppet theme. I found a filmed version on youtube which I post for you below, in case you are not quite ready to give up the gloom.


Something about London seems to bring out this murk of the soul. My other inspirational author, Tanith Lee, was also British and wrote in this poetic and macabre vein. In my case, I was sent toward these Gothic themes for the sake of what Carl Jung used to call: Shadow Work.

This Shadow Work began for me in the early 2000’s when my imagination was invaded by the ghosts and demons that lurk in the London ethers. As you know, my books are dark, dealing with themes of good vs evil and the moral struggles of the protagonists. I do believe that our moral choices can make or break our character, and that good and evil are absolute.

Now that I know these things to be true, the black veil has lifted and I feel redeemed…. I will continue the current projects until they are complete I will probably write Romance on the side–to vary the metal/ emotional diet as it were…. That’s how I feel now as the light at the end of the tunnel washes over me.

I also want to share this old movie from 1944. It ties together Angela Carter with the Bluebeard theme, and has some wonderful marionettes. Its called Bluebeard and has a very nice plot and a very young John Carradine who looks pretty striking.

My own Bluebeard story, The Keys, has not marionettes, but automatons, which are their kissing cousins. This tale was directly inspired by Angela carter’s Bluebeard re-telling, The Bloody Chamber.

If somebody wants to make a film out of The Keys, let me know and I will add it to the Gothic Library. It has zombies….

I like this puppet theme. Ever since I was a child i loved puppets and dolls. But not all children love them. I did a brief stint as a puppeteer in a marionette house. We had to make the marionettes ourselves, so we really bonded with them. There was always a part of the show where we took the marionettes into the audience, to meet the patrons. Some of the children left screaming….

I think their instincts were actually pretty good.

And what are all these puppets and marionettes, you may ask? Masks, perhaps. Or animated beings without souls, certainly.

My automatons were a bit like Stepford wives…women reduced to robots, a kind of living dead. What makes them Gothic is the relationship to the subconscious, our fears, perhaps, of what we might be if there were no God.


Looks like poor Angela Carter ended her days in a wax museum…


“The Keys” in Tales of Blood and Roses, Vol. 3

“The Keys” in Tales of Blood and Roses, Vol. 3: Fairy Tales Issue

ORDER AT: Tales of Blood and Roses, Vol 3

I was never a fan of zombies. They are too gross, too ugly and well, souless to appeal to my romantic nature. I do like the story of Bluebeard though, especially Angela Carter’s re-teling in her classic fairy tales collection, The Bloody Chamber. Since i discovered that book in 1980s, I always wanted to write my own Bluebeard inspired story. Then, last summer when i was writing short stories like mad, i found this image from the old Bela Lugosi film, White Zombie and suddenly realized that zombies could be glamorous!

Zombie Bride! That was it! I had my Bluebeard character, a descendent of Gilles de Rais, (who was the model for Bluebeard) escape from the French Revolution to a mysterious Carribean island rife with voodoo and. of course, zombies.

My vain, young heroine, Lissette, has been in love with the dashing concert pianist, Armand Guy de Rais, since childhood. When years later, after losing her papa in the Frech Revolution, now impoverished mother needs to marry Lissette off. The girl’s dream comes true and she is shipped over the sea to her true love’s home, a private island in the America’s.  There he is, older and jaded, there is his piano, and his collection of automatons, all women, and the history of his many wives…

The Keys

Opening scene

I was only six when Mama and Papa first took me to the Paris Opera to see a concert by the famous pianist, Armand Guy de Rais. The moment her arrived on the stage, tall and elegant, with his wild blue-black hair and sparkling eyes, i was smitten. Sitting at the jaws of a glossy beats of a piano, Monsieur played with such fire that my innocent soul was branded forever with the agony of passion. Mama recallls me shaking and spattering my dress of cameo colored silk with tears. She chided me, but I’d been so siezed by the violent beauty of his music, by his long fingers flying over the keys, yet touching them with exquisite tenderness, that I did not hear her. I couldn’t believe it when he sudenly stood up and bowed for the applause. I tugged my mother’s sleeve. Is it over? It can’t possibly be over. Suddenly everyone was towering above me clapping and shouting Bravo! leaving me in the dark, my view of Monsieur blocked by coat tails and voluminous gowns.

Nine years later, we had to flee Paris…

 ORDER LINK: Tales of Blood and Roses, Vol 3