My historical gothic – or gothic romantic dark comedy, The Villainous Vicount Or The Curse of the Venns is free on Amazon on 1 and 2 December.
A darkly humorous take on the cliches of classical gothic, and includes a family curse, an incorrigible rogue anti-hero, a haunted castle, a hooded spectre, an historical crime committed in the Frnace of the ancien regime, bathetic scenes and a strong female lead.
I was naturally happy that it was former Amazon best seller and that it won the BRAG medallion for outstanding self-published fiction.
Just as Lord Venn is making a passionate proposal to the sixth heiress on his list, a hooded spectre appears in a flash of lightning. This hereditary curse is becoming inconvenient – particularly as Venn is next on the list to come to a terrible end.
Clarinda Greendale has other reasons for rejecting Venn besides the curse: – such as his being a wild, brawling social outcast and a fortune hunter.
Harley Venn dismisses the history of the curse as a series of conjuring tricks. Clarinda would like to help Venn fight the curse if she could; only she does not want to marry him and take on his outrageous household in the haunted Stoke Castle.. Meanwhile the curse closes in. Can the drunken charlatan Venn hires to help him prove that it is all a hoax be of any use at all?
A winner of the coveted B.R.A.G medallion for outstanding self-published fiction, this historically accurate and sensual spoof of classic Gothic should delight readers with a lively sense of humour.
Here’s an extract:
‘A flash of lightning outlined the window, where a hooded, cloaked figure appeared, suspended on the air. It extended one skeletal hand as if reaching towards them and vanished even as the thunderclap came. Swearing, Harley Venn dashed to the window.
As the thunder echoed away, Clarinda came up behind him. “We saw that oddity before.” She gazed about the empty street below. “This time it has appeared at a first floor window. That is extraordinary.”
He turned a taut smile on her. “Don’t concern yourself, Ma’am, it was a trumpery conjuring trick by an illusionist or mesmerist.” They looked at each other, he defiant, and she curious rather than frightened. She saw the admiration in his eyes at her strong nerve. “Do not concern yourself about that laughable party trick. I’m not sure how it’s done, but it’s getting to be a cursed nuisance. You have just seen another good reason to reject me. Please accept my wishes for your future health and happiness.”
He said this automatically, bent over her hand, and turned away.
He was at the door when she said softly, “Do wait a moment, Sir.” He paused, eyebrows raised.
She saw that he thought she relented. “I wanted to say, Sir, that I make no doubt the details surrounding my own late relative’s death have become wildly distorted in the telling.”
Venn’s face fell as he realised that this was no attempt to withdraw her rejection.
She went on calmly, “I hope his shocking end can be set aside as irrelevant. Yet, if the story is true, and such a figure as we saw even now appeared to Mr Foyle on his fall to his death, if it was indeed the conjuring trick you say, then it seems to be one with a sinister purpose. Do take care, Lord Venn, especially near stairs.”
He drew himself up. “As to me, Ma’am, I find these parlour tricks laughable. As you have rejected my offer so decidedly, there is surely no need to concern yourself with my welfare.” He paused and then added coldly, “I believe that these illusions are meant for me, and you have only seen them by default. But should you ever feel yourself threatened by such visitations, do let me know of it.” He bowed and flung out of the room.’
You can get it for free starting on 1 December on Amazon.co.uk here
on Amazon.com here