Monday, June 11, 2012

Ghosts are Live!

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: Print to follow on 7th August, print and e-book in the U.K. Here's the Book Depository link to the print edition:

You can read an excerpt here:

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:

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!


Keziah Hill said...

The Ghost and Mrs Muir is one of my favourites too! I'm so looking forward to reading your story Anna!

Lainey said...

Yes I just love Rex Harrison in that role. It also was my favorite movie, the tv show was fun but not like the movie. That is still the #1 classic ghost movie and story for me. Thanks for even reminding me of it. Will now want both print and ebook.

Kandy Shepherd said...

That bed! Isn't it incredible? No wonder you were inspired to write a story around it.

I also love The Ghost and Mrs Muir--so deeply romantic. I'm looking forward to reading your first woo-woo story.

Laurie G said...

Charles Dickens- A Christmas Carol

Janet Chapman's time travelers

Joan Honl had a book with a ghost in it....Shadow's Kiss!

Jane Seymore and Christopher Reeves in Somewhere In Time

Pat Cochran said...

I forgot Somewhere In Time! It has to come in
as a tie with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, followed by Ghost, and Caspar The Ghost cartoons!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Keziah. I was thinking about The Chinese Bed yesterday and I think there's a few more scary bits in it than in TGAMM but that was definitely the kind of atmosphere I was aiming for.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Lainey. I hope I haven't pitched it too high with the TGAMM references. But that story was definitely my inspiration when I sat down to write this. I agree with you - the movie is immeasurably beyond the TV series, although of course the TV series was fun.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Kylie. It was fun putting in some mild woo-woo although I don't think it means I have a career ahead of my writing paranormal fantasy, LOL! Isn't that bed gorgeous? The embroidery was so intricate, I could have stared at it for hours. Imagine never unpacking it!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Laurie, you mentioned one of my all-time favourite movies, Somewhere in Time. I always cry my eyes out over that one. He was just lovely, wasn't he? I've always wanted to visit the hotel as a result of seeing that. I keep forgetting a Christmas Carol is a ghost story! When of course it is! Thanks for the other recommendations. I'll check them out.

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, when you mention Caspar, you crack me up. Definitely NOT the atmosphere I was looking for, although very cute in his own way, LOL! Isn't Somewhere in Time gorgeous? And I love the music. So romantic.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

The time travelish ones like Ghost & Mrs. Muir & Somewhere in Time but I also loved the one with Demi Moore, Whoopie Goldburg and , sigh, that Patrick Swazay..

Anna Campbell said...

GGH, I think we all loved PS in that movie. I play Unchained Melody on the piano - you never know, somebody might come up behind me. Snork! Watched the Tonys yesterday and saw that they've written a musical based on the movie. Wonder what it's like.

Di said...

Ghost stories are a double edged sword for me - they are often so sweet but often heartwrenching too.

Dina said...

I love The Canterbury Ghost. I also love ghost shows now

Anna Campbell said...

Di, I know exactly what you mean. That's one of the reasons I went for the double romance in this. So the live couple could get a happily ever after in this life and the ghostly couple could get a happily ever after in the next life. Ooh, dear, does that count as a spoiler? LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

Dina, I love ghost stories too. I even like non-romantic ghost stories. Like a tale of things that go bump in the night!

Michele L. said...

Oh I love ghost stories Anna! Don't fall over and faint, but I have never seen the movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Really, seriously! I like the scary ghost movies like Sixth Sense(my favorite!), Haunting of Hill House (the black & white version is the best!), andPoltergeist. They all scare you and make you jump, but man are they good movies! I have read some really good books that feature ghosts, The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle writing as Alice Kimberly, Victoria Laurie's series of ghost stories and many others. Great blog post!

Eli Yanti said...

i have been excited with this book but why it's $11.84 T_T

and me too love the ghost :)