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Castle Von Udolpho Crimson Abbey of Blood (Movie Monday, gothic edition)

I have got to start seeing movies in a more timely way, either at the movie theater or when they’re first released at home. It’s not such a thing this week, when something inspires me to talk about its antecedents (⇐this is not the nerdiest the post is going to get), as say, Star Wars, when six weeks after it’s out, I’m like “Let me tell you all my feelings!” and y’all are like, yes, but I heard that in the next movie…

Well, maybe not y’all, because my readers are pretty cool.

So, anyway. Crimson Peak. This movie was like they threw all my favorite things in a cinematic gift bag:

  1. Director Guillermo del Toro
  2. Ghosts
  3. OMG the wardrobe
  4. Spooky $%*#
  5. Tom Hiddleston looking even more Byronic than usual
  6. Creepy house
  7. The most Gothic gothiciness that ever gothicked.

I mean, just look at it:

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Obviously, I love the gothic novel, since I’ve written two of them. (One is even titled Texas Gothic. (link) ) And I was interested to see what someone with such as visually interesting as del Toro would come up with.

Let’s skip the history of how the Gothic novel came out of the counter-Enlightenment movement of Romanticism.  The gothic story has some very distinct elements:

  • An innocent heroine, very often an orphan or otherwise cut off.
  • An isolated setting that evokes mystery and dread. It’s gloomy, usually decaying. Extra points for secret passages or hidden staircases.
  • Supernatural beings (or what appear to be supernatural goings on)
  • Curse or prophecies. (I actually thing this, along with the idea of ghosts, has to do with the feeling of the past affecting or threatening the present events.)
  • A Byronic hero–brooding, enigmatic, slightly dissipated and untrustworthy air.
  •  Romance, or a romantic sensibility. CrimsonPeak_Hiddleston_Wasikowska.jpg

Most importantly there’s a sense of physical danger, psychological horror, and spiritual peril. 

That leaves a lot to play with, plot-wise. You can tick all the boxes (like the popular gothic romances that Jane Austen sent up in Northanger Abbey), or you can stay in the spirit, evoking the sense of heightened dread and dark tone and atmosphere. Jane Eyre and Frankenstein are both considered gothic novels (among other things).

So, back to Crimson Peak. This movie ticks all the boxes, but in a self-aware Northanger Abbey way. The movie, though, is more of an homage than a parody.

First of all, it calls itself out, right away. Austen and Brontë are mentioned right off. The heroine wants to be an author, and when a publisher dismisses her “ghost story,” she says that there are ghosts in it, but it’s not about ghosts. The ghosts represent the past. (⇑ See what I did there? Fourth bullet point.)  And obviously that’s how this story goes, too.

My interest then became less “what will happen” and more “how is that going to happen, or how will that play out.” Maybe that makes it predictable, but kind of in the same way as a Romantic Comedy or a Western is predictable. Mostly you know you’re going to end up at the opposite ends of the town’s muddy main street, drawing your guns at high noon.

So bookish Edith falls in love with charismatic but mysterious Sir Thomas Sharpe, marries him (oh, she’s rich by the way), and he takes her away to his literally falling down mansion where he lives with his crazy-eyed sister, who you know is going to be trouble. And then there are forbidden rooms and locked trunks and strange noises…

And there were these bonuses:

  • Charlie Hunnam!
  • Bobby from Supernatural!
  • Puppy! Even better? Papillon puppy!

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The adorable dog was a smart touch, and I’m not just saying that because I gave the heroine of The Splendor Falls (link) one. Because of the type of story, I wasn’t too worried about Edith, but I spent a good part of that movie terrified something was going to happen to the dog.

The ghosts were also really terrifying, because they were gross. There were a couple of pretty horrific deaths, which also elevated the tension, because I didn’t want to see that grossness. Bleh. Which bears mentioning because the original gothic novels evoked dread more than the gross out, but when they did have blood and such, it took a lot less to be shocking.

So, final verdict? Would you enjoy Crimson Peak? Well, the costuming is gorgeous, the set is amazing, and the acting is really good. There’s enough danger during the story to keep the tension up. Obviously she doesn’t trust the sister, but can she trust Thomas? That was the big question throughout. (And Hiddleston really does well at keeping you guessing. Also, there’s a love scene, so if Hiddleston is your thing…)

You know, it occurs to me—and this is not a spoiler, and it’s not about the plot, just what floats my boat—I think I was less invested because I wanted Edith to stay in Boston with Charlie Hunnam’s character.

But then it wouldn’t have been a gothic story.

So, have any of you seen this?  What’s your favorite gothic novel or movie, or movie of a novel? I could use recommendations.

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I don’t care if you’re dead. Throw my ball, dammit.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

(Read all the way to the bottom for a chance to win a copy of Brimstone, which comes out next week!)

Whenever I go too long without Tweeting, my family and friends call or text to make sure I haven’t fallen down the stairs and/or been eaten by my dogs.

This says a lot about how often I tweet. It also says a lot about how I get distracted and forget to tweet. Or, you know, blog.  My Friend Kate (this is an official title, because friendship with me incurs certain privileges and responsibilities) pointed out that I haven’t blogged in two months and since my last post concerned a Potentially Life Threatening Incident, maybe I should put up an entry to say I wasn’t dead yet.

(See how smart my friends are? They have to pass a test. Also, this is the kind of responsibility that falls to them: Remind me of the passage of time. Tell me when people think I’m dead. Dynamite me out of my cave now and then.)

So, here is the recap of my summer since I last posted:

  • Did not die from idiopathic angioedema. (Or as we call it in my house: swelling up for no good reason. And also: take two Benedryl and cancel your plans for the day.)
  • Did not die from bug bite that turned out not to be a bug bite but a staph infection. Did not die from humiliation that a clean freak like me got a staph infection. (Right after being in the hospital. Coincidence?)
  • Had to cancel going to RWA National Conference and presenting the Golden Heart Award. Tragic because I had the most adorable dress. Also tragic because I was supposed to spend the week afterward hanging out with My Friend Kate.
  • Turned in final revision of Spirit and Dust. (Yay!!!!!)
  • Made a playlist and a Pinterest board for Spirit and Dust.
  • Was called for Jury Duty. Was not picked, possibly because I write for teens (case concerned teenagers), or because I have a Twitter and blog, possibly because I’m a smart ass.  (During the selection questions, the defense counsel asked what I did that I had a blog. I answered that I wrote books for teens. Counsel: So you tell lies for a living. Me: I’ll bet people say that about your job, too.)
  • Celebrated the paperback release of Texas Gothic!!!  (If you’re too cheap (like me) to buy it in hard cover, now is your chance.)
  • Did not die from a recurrence of the not-bug-bite.
  • Managed to keep my plants alive all through the summer!  This is a record for me!
  • Received a ginormous box of copies of BRIMSTONE which comes out on September 11th. That’s next week.  OMG THAT’S NEXT WEEK!

Brimstone Cover

 

Tell me in the comments what you did with YOUR summer vacation. It doesn’t even have to be true. I will randomly draw one name from the comments to win a copy of Brimstone for your very own.

News and stuff!

News! Texas Gothic has been included on the 2012 ALA list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. I’m thrilled to be included with some of MY favorite books of the year!

Also, central Texas folks, get ready. I will be at Book People in Austin on February 10th at 7pm, where I will be on a panel with fellow “spine-tingling YA authors” Jordan Dane, P.J. Hoover, Mari Mancusi, Cynthia Leitich Smith and LA Weatherly. We’ll dish on writing about scary stuff life vampires, ghosts, and falling in love.

Obviously, I’m back in the USA. Penny was so happy to see me when I got home. I fixed the line breaks on the posts from the cruise (now that I’m not paying tourist wi-fi rates) so if you want to read about the trip more or less as it unfolded, the first post is here.  
If you want the backstory on why I don’t sound quite as excited about the cruise as you might think, you can start with this post, which you should bear in mind was written days before that terrible cruise ship wreck last weekend. (Which, incidentally, I did not even hear about until I was ON the Carnival Magic, due to conspiracy of my friends and family.) 
However, in the end, I had a really nice time. Some enforced downtime was probably really good for me. I read four Agatha Christie novels and a Barbara Michaels ghosty-mystery. I did not get kidnapped by Pirates or Cuban Revolutionaries. I didn’t even get sunburned. 
I did, however, come home with a cold, which I am going to go nurse now with a cup of tea and the happy thought that the ALA thinks my book is good enough to include with some of MY favorites from 2011, including Beauty Queens, Enclave, and The False Princess. Congrats, my friends!

Texas Gothic in the Wild

I love it when people send me pictures of my book in the wild, whether it’s on a bookstore shelf, their desk, or wherever.  Especially when the picture includes an adorable dog.

@rclementmoore IT IS HERE, IT IS HERE! #papillonnotincluded on Twitpic
(pic from reader @Laurenisaguitar on Twitter)

Here’s another one! It’s becoming a meme!

(From Kari’s IMM post over on A Good Addiction)

It’s no secret I love dogs.  Here’s one of mine (sans book) to round things out:

Texas Gothic Release Day

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So, Texas Gothic comes out today.

!!!!!!!!!

I’m just a little excited about that. I would like to pretend I’m all blasé about a new book release and ho hum, it’s my fifth book so whatever.

But the fact is, I’m all tied up with nerves and hopes and fears and more hopes…

This is the book my dad and I plotted together when I was sixteen. This is the one I started first, the high school boyfriend I left behind when I went to college, but eventually met up with again. The setting is an eyes-open love letter to the place I grew up, not perfect, but beautiful and full of people and things that, good or bad, you won’t find anywhere else.

There’s so much of me in this book. There’s spitfire romance and matinee adventure and family dramady. There’s forensic anthropology and paranormal investigation. There’s girl power and there’s boy crazy. There’s Sonic cherry limeade and Dr Pepper and Shiner beer and coffee and chocolate chip cookies. There’s nods to Mrs. Radcliffe, Kathy Reichs, and Carolyn Keene. And yes, even to Scooby Doo.

Amy Goodnight is full of neuroses and awesome, who plunges into danger with a sense of righteousness and a bottle of Purell. Is it any wonder I feel so close to this book?

So, for me, book release day isn’t just about “will the book perform well,” or even about “will people like it.” A book is a collaborative effort, in a way. I put all these things in there, and ask you, the reader, to come along to the story. You bring your own experiences, which enhance and nuance the story so it becomes unique to you, too. So the excitement, in a way, is anticipation of what readers will take away from the book, and hope that it’s a wonderful shared experience.

Or, they will think I’m a nut. That’s okay, too, I guess. As long as they enjoy the read.

You can get Texas Gothic at your local retailer. (Ask for it if they don’t have it on the shelf. It may have sold out already and we want them to order more!) It’s also available in all e-reader formats and from online booksellers. There’s a whole list of online retailer links here.

Or ask for it at your local library! You don’t have to buy a book to help an author. Letting your librarian know there’s a demand for the book is important!

Here’s a list of my upcoming signings and appearances!

Saturday, July 16th at 1pm: Barnes and Noble at the Parks Mall in Arlington, TX.

Saturday, August 6th at 2 pm: Barnes and Noble at the Shops at North East Mall in Hurst, TX.

Saturday, August 20 at 4:30pm: Murder by the Book in Houston, TX.

August 26-28: ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX

September 23-25: FenCon in Dallas, TX

Happy Reading!

Win a copy of Texas Gothic

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic

by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Giveaway ends July 20, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Texas Gothic Tidbits and other cool books

If you’re interested (which I assume you all are) there’s an excerpt of Texas Gothic now up at the Random House site.  (If that link doesn’t show the expert, go to “about the book” and click “excerpt.”)  It’s also up the book’s Amazon page, which means I’ll be posting it soon to MY webpage.

And in Googling this, I found that Random House Australia has the book listed, with the Australian cover, which I love as much as the US cover. I mean, when a cover image works, go with it! I think the Western font is fun, but I love the tagline, which I am hereby co-opting for my own use.

You can’t escape your inner witch…

If you’re looking for a book recommendation, be sure and check out April’s Fresh Takes column for interviews with Jenny Archer (Through Her Eyes) and Kirsten Hubbard (Like Mandarin).

Or, you could check out what the other Bookanistas* are talking about today!

*The Bookanistas are a group of bloggers and writers who love books, and on Thursday we talk about our latest love. Simple as that.