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Archive for September 22nd, 2014

Lauren Smith: Why I love Vintage Gothic Romances (Contest)
Monday, September 22nd, 2014

UPDATE: This contest will end September 25th at midnight! Enter now!

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Every fall I get swept away by the falling leaves and the bright colors and the crisp wind that smells of coming snowfall. There is something magical about the months of September, October and November. I lose myself in the celebrations and decorations of Halloween and there’s nothing better than reading a bunch of old vintage gothics. The spooky settings, the fog shrouded mansions and crumbling castles. I’ve read contemporary set gothics (set in the 50s and 60s) and I’ve read historical gothics too. It doesn’t matter when the book is set, so long as I get to lose myself in a story that’s full of that beloved atmosphere where mist hides tragedies and horrors and a dark sensual romance fills the pages.

One of my absolute favorite vintage gothic romances is The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt which is about a woman named Caroline trying to find out what happened to her missing sister Roma. Setting out on a quest to find her sister, she starts out searching an estate where her sister was last seen.  With a title like Shivering Sands, already the atmosphere is set and I have to know more about this mysterious place where even the sand is dangerous. As the heroine Caroline Verlaine finds out: “You’ve heard about the Sands, Mrs. Verlaine. Quick sands…shivering sands…Boats are caught in them and they can’t get off. They feel themselves held in a grip so fierce that nothing will release them…and slowly they begin to sink into the shivering sands.”

What is so moving about gothics, especially the vintage ones is the way they capture the reader’s attention with the style of language and transport us to a place of deadly mystery and wonder set against the backdrop of old haunted houses with brooding, dominating heroes that inspire our darkest fantasies.

I recently decided I wanted to write a “modern”gothic. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to take what was best about the vintage gothics and what’s great about new modern romances (like the super steamy love scenes), and combine the two? I had to admit it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever done and the voice was quite natural for me, since I’ve read so many of the old gothics. My story The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall which releases September 29th, 2014 is the best of both worlds. I have dark, brooding hero named Bastian, an earl, and Jane, a feisty, intelligent American grad student clashing in a battle of wills as they try to find out why the earl’s castle is haunted by his ancestors.

“He was predatory, sensual, and powerful in his dark blue waistcoat, and knee-high black boots. Bastian’s ancestor looked every inch the earl he was. But it was so much more than that. Bastian and Richard could have been twins, the uncanny resemblance was so strong.” – The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall.

Question for readers: What do you all like to read around Halloween? Do you like spooky ghost stories? Hot paranormals? Horror classics? Three lucky winners will receive a e-book of The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall!


To defeat a dark evil, they must face his family’s past…

Bastian Carlisle, the Earl of Weymouth, doesn’t believe in ghosts. Even though tragedy and mysterious hauntings have driven his family away from his ancestral home, Stormclyffe Hall, he is determined to restore the castle to its former glory. His plans are disrupted when a stubborn American shows up on his doorstep hoping to pry into his family’s tragic history.

Jane Seyton, an American graduate student, is convinced there’s more to the tragedy of Stormclyffe Hall than history claims. Ever the scholar, she is determined to discover the truth, even if it means putting up with the arrogant, yet sexy, Bastian.

Although Bastian wants nothing to do with the pushy American, it soon becomes clear that something evil is in the house—and that something is targeting both Jane and Bastian. The two must join forces to purge the ghosts of Stormclyffe Hall once and for all—even as they try to fight a physical attraction between them that grows more and more impossible to deny.


“My lord?” Randolph prompted, which made Bastian realize he must have been silent for several moments. The shadows had him on edge. Perhaps it would be nice to have a bit of company, if only she wasn’t a bloody American. Given the rumors of ghosts and other such childish stories, most of the staff at Stormclyffe refused to stay overnight. Only Randolph and a few of the loyal staff from London remained after dark.

“I shall meet with her. She will not be staying here.” Read the rest of this entry »