Wednesday, 24 October 2012

CoffinHop Begins: Introducing Gothic Cavalcade

Coffin Hop has Landed!

Here are the Gory Details:

1) HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME!
2) INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 24 at Midnight (PST)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: October 31 at Midnight (PST)
    Winners will be drawn and posted November 1, 2012
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY SITE'S CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL SITES IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. THE MORE SITES YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME?

Now that you have an overview, let's get on with the festivities, shall we.  My CoffinHop begins with some shameless self-promotion, and a look inside the creation of my new book, Gothic Cavalcade.

Introducing Gothic Cavalcade

Once upon a time, I wrote a haibun poem for one of my online poetry groups, Mindful Poetry, called Gothic Cavalcade. Now it was a nice poem, well received, and that should have been the end, move on to the next story or poem. But there was something about the poem that kept swirling around in my brain...

Gothic Cavalcade

A leaf spirals through the air, her eyes following its path to the ground. She feels a twinge along her spine as she scurries through the darkening woods. Escaping memories tossed aside and left behind, she can’t stop, she needs to keep moving forward. She needs to run.

Brown-eyed girl astray
still waiting to be rescued
drowning in her doubt

Across the distance, strains of calliope music haunt the trees, the sounds wafting in from the carnival tent she left behind. The music chases her steps, rattling the branches above her head. It is the beckoning lure of the family, to call their wayward daughter home.

Refrains collide, break
under pressure, seep outward
A fractured tune spent

I kept wondering, why was the girl running through the woods, who was she running from and where was she headed? What mysterious event happened and what lurked under that carnival tent? So I took my niggling questions and my itchy fingers and started to write a story about what happened inside the tent.
I started out creating a horror tale set in the early twentieth century about a girl named Althea and a creepy bunch of carnival folks, but it did not want remain just a horror story. The carnival had more secrets to share, Althea wanted to tell her whole story and it turned out that horror tale wasn’t all it seemed. What’s more, romance (gasp) started to creep in as I wrote. In the end, what started out as a poem became a hybrid novella of gothic horror and romance, complete with slightly graphic violence and a sex scene (although not together). There’s even music involved.

So that’s how the book got started, and here’s a sneak peek at the finished product:

Gothic Cavalcade


Gothic romance meets Gothic horror inside a paranormal carnival and beyond...

Meet Althea, a desperate woman running from a secretive and miserable past. She encounters Byron, a mysterious and handsome man with secrets of his own. He brings her to his home, the Masquerade Carnivale, and into the midst of his family. There Althea begins to feel safe, to trust, and to love. She finds friends, laughter and with Byron, romance. She thinks she has found a home, trusts she is protected, until the night Byron and his Family betray her.
But do they? There is more beneath the surface at the Masquerade Carnivale, more to Althea’s past and to her future than she believes. One event puts Althea on a path for her reckoning, a path full of pain, fear and ultimately, revenge. A choice is coming for her, one that will change everything.

The Masquerade Carnivale is beckoning... will she answer?


Opening Night
~
The stars sparkled above the mist shrouded tents and caravans of the carnival. The night crackled with an odd vibration, as if a veil of peculiarity settled over the company. The Family gathered in the main tent, the surrounding canvas rippled lightly and the smell of old dirt and memories were in the air. Voices murmured in subdued tones, wariness was felt among the assembled.
Mother had called.
She stood watching them, and absently pushed a white tinged lock of hair from her face, to tuck it back into her mass of upswept grey hair. She seemed a docile older woman with a few of life’s lines etched on her face, but like much with Mother, her appearance hid secrets.
“Come into the circle, children.” She spoke with a soft, commanding tone, and beckoned her brood into the band of strange rune stones that existed in lieu of a centre ring. One by one, they obeyed, and the family crowded around her, whispering among themselves until a gesture from her drew silence.
“I had a dream last night. A visitor is coming, a new member of the family. We will receive her and welcome her into our fold.”
Gasps of joyfulness rose in the air and excited voices chattered in a cacophony of sound.
“A new family member!”
“How exciting, we haven’t had one for ages.”
“Wondrous news.”
“New blood, excellent.”
“Marvellous, a new member for the family.”
“Oh, just stupendous.”
Mother smiled, indulgent of her brood’s enthusiasm. She waited until the din subsided before speaking again. “She will be here soon and we must prepare for her arrival. But first I must choose her companion, the one who will complete the rites.”
Mother looked over her now silent children. Her practised eye examined each one for the signs and fell at last upon a tall young man with dark hair.
“Byron. You will be the one. You will bring her into the circle and make her one of us.”
The young man bowed his head. “Thank you, Mother, for the honour.”
“It is your time. I know you will do well.” Mother laughed and clapped her hands. “Away with you all. We have work to do. The Masquerade Carnivale must welcome another apprentice.”



You can find Gothic Cavalcade at:

Smashwords (Until Oct. 31st use the coupon code GG32U at the checkout and get it free!)




Don't forget to visit the other blogs involved in CoffinHop.  For the full list, scroll way, way down to the bottom of my blog  and check everyone out.  And be sure to check out the Coffin Hop Store for a grab bag of creepy goodies. 

6 comments:

Penelope Crowe said...

Gothic horror romance!!
How interesting!
I LOVE the poem and get such nice vivid images in my head.
I hope there are more like that.
:)
Pen

A. F. Stewart said...

Penelope, I'm posting a Halloween poem on Saturday, plus a creepy story and another excerpt from the book.

Jezri said...

The book sounds intriguing!Thank you and also thank you for participating in #55WordChallenge! Always good to have fresh blood.

A. F. Stewart said...

I love doing those micro stories, Jezri. One of my writing groups does a 100 word one about every week.

Milo James Fowler said...

I'm a BIG fan of haiku, and I've wanted to give the haibun a stab one of these days. Yours is freakin' awesome. Enjoy the hop!

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks Milo. I love haiku as well, and I've written a few. I enjoy writing a haibun as well, though I've only done one besides this poem, about the Snow Queen.

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