by Anna Campbell
I've got a new release this month! Huzzah!
My mini novella "The Chinese Bed" is included in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE which came out on 7th June. Ebook only in North America at the moment. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Mammoth-Ghost-Romance-Books-ebook/dp/B005RYLUP8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338579951&sr=1-1 Print to follow on 7th August, print and e-book in the U.K. Here's the Book Depository link to the print edition: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Mammoth-Ghost-Romance-Trisha-Telep/9781849014687
You can read an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/chinesebed.html
This is the story of two couples, one living and one dead, who fall foul of a cursed Chinese bed on the day of their wedding. The ghostly couple are Josiah Aston, Lord Stansfield, and his beloved Lady Isabella Verney who both died in 1749. The current couple (well, current in 1818) are Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, and Lady Calista Aston, Josiah's great-niece. So you get two love stories for the price of one with this tale. Bargain!
The Chinese Bed of the title is based on a real bed, the 'Great Bed' of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. That's a picture of the bed on the right. Isn't it magnificent? Bizarrely, it seems the family never unpacked it from the crates it arrived in, although the upside of that is that the colors on the embroidery are still as bright as a new day. Like the bed in my story, it was a gift from the British royal family to some long ago bride of the Harpur family who lived in Calke Abbey.
I've also included a close-up picture of the exquisite embroidery on the bedcover. Isn't that breathtaking? The detail is mindboggling. Imagine owning something so gorgeous and never even taking it out to look at it.
As far as I know, this particular bed isn't cursed, but ever since I saw it in 2007, it's preyed on my mind as something crying out to be part of a story. "The Chinese Bed" is the result.
The last photo is of Calke Abbey itself. It's one of the most interesting National Trust properties in Britain. The Trust keep it as an example of a country house in decline, so you get a picture of the decay that these magnificent houses had fallen into before they were rescued in the 20th century.
The story of the Harpur-Crewe family who lived there is almost biblical in its powerful depiction of great wealth declining to shabby poverty. Mind you, shabby poverty in a house crowded with treasures - this is a family who never threw anything out. Well worth visiting if you're in England. Here's the link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey/
I had such fun writing "The Chinese Bed," partly because it gave me a chance to play with woo-woo stuff that my usual historical romances don't. And I'd never included a secondary romance in a story before either, so it was interesting to play compare and contrast with each couple.
These MAMMOTH anthologies are fabulous value and a great way to discover new authors. I can't wait to read the other stories in the anthology.
So do you like ghost stories? Do you have a favorite? I must say one of my favorites is the classic THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, the movie from 1947, with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. Rex makes a rather gorgeous ghost!