Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

[Photo courtesy a recent newsletter from AntiSally @]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Am Gabriella! ^^^ Pilgrim's End (Cover Scans)

I especially like this one. Not sure why, but it's just a pretty package: The colors, centered figure in black, tall slender chateau with its uniquely sinister aura, full moon on the rise. I'd like to have a copy of it, but no more online purchases; it'll have to be found locally or nothing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gothic Snowstorm

That's what it looks like to me anyway. A peach pie is baking in the oven, holiday lights are twinkling about our warm and cozy home, the makings for a homemade (non-alcohol) fruitcake awaits mixing and baking later. We've enjoyed spicy and savory snacks of sausage, nachos, eggrolls. Tonight we'll drive about enjoying lawn displays; upon return home will dip into "Ile de France" baked brie with cranberries, apricots, almonds and brandy. 'Tis the season! :-D

Happy Holidays to my readers: Even if you don't like it! ;-p

The Haunting of Helen Wren, by Jan Alexander [1975]

Finished reading this Gothic last evening. It's unusual and original, and on that basis I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's also a negative Gothic, in that it has no happy ending. The storytelling is done in a measured and progressive semi-"crazy quilt" fashion. It opens with Helen and her troubles. Helen is a sympathetic but somewhat unlikeable character. Her deceased father was a domineering religionist, and at age 27 Helen is meek and undecided...and a boyfriendless virgin. Upon her release from Ville de Valle, a luxury psychiatric hospital, Helen returns home: Where a year prior her parents were brutally slain by unknown assailants. She is nearly raped (and presumably later to be murdered), but is spared by the approach of police sirens (neighbor heard the screams/commotion and phoned the cops). Helen suffers a nervous breakdown as a result.

It's a year later and she decides to return to the unhappy (always) home alone. Her sister, Robie, arrives to usher Helen home; Robie is a free-spirited rebel who resides in NYC and doesn't spend the night. She stays the afternoon with Helen and returns home. Robie has offered to stay awhile, but Helen insists she'll be fine. Mrs. Halvorsen, the cook/maid, is part-time help who refuses to stay overnight. So we have the very unlikely scenario of a mental patient having suffered a catastrophic breakdown returning to the house wherein the savage butchery of her parents occurred, spending the very first night alone. :-\ I doubt it.

It turns out, no surprise, that the house is haunted. On nights of the full moon Helen hears the cries and crashes of her parents' vicious murders "replayed." She also experiences sudden extremely cold drafts and the sensation of someone in bed beside her.

Helen, usually timid and indecisive, decides to seek Robie's help and goes to NYC. Robie had challenged their father, had defiantly told him she'd go on her own even if it meant being disinherited from a fortune. Their father agreed. Robie works, keeps a small apartment, is a party girl with a string of lovers. She's also devoted to Helen, and is stunned but curious when Helen arrives to proclaim their family home haunted.

Two doctors subsequently check into Helen's story. The first, Dr. Brewer, was known to Robie during her days at Columbia University; Dr. Brewer is an M.D. whose hobby is ghost hunting/paranormal. Dr. Wallace steps into the picture at the end; he is a psychiatrist. Both men, while empirically trained and claiming to be skeptical, are actually rather open to the supernatural in ways genuinely empirically trained professionals wouldn't be.

It turns out the house is indeed haunted.

This is the first Gothic I've read wherein the heroine doesn't have a love interest. No man seeks her romantically nor sexually. But considering Helen's overall "gray" personality, I suppose that's without saying.

Trixie gave this story Zero Paws for no mention of a cat. She felt sorry for the little dog who died of fright, but a bit disdainfully so; Trixie pointed out that a cat would never die of fright. :-p

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No coal in MY stocking, no sir!

Skull shaped (duh!) glycerin soaps.
Mini Fragrance Mists 5ml

Santa Claus says I'm a good girl and can order some holiday goodies from AntiSally at :-D

MINI Fragrance Mists 5ml Alcohol Free = $2.99
Fragrance SHADOWS™
Fragrance GOTHIC ROSE™

Tin Coffin Travel Candle = $3.99 [scroll down for pic in previous post]
Fragrance GRAVEYARD™

Skull Shaped Organic Vegan Glycerin Guest Size Soaps = $4.99
Fragrance BLACK WINGS™

All is made by her and cruelty free, natural. And she has roughly 5 additional fragrances not indicated in this post. Can't wait! My husband will probably think I've truly flipped now...but so far he's cool with it. Frankly it may be more he's just finally given up on me. :-p

Friday, December 18, 2009

Film: Daughter of Darkness [1948 United Kingdom]


Yesterday while looking for a copy of "Dracula" (1992 Ryder/Oldman) at Hastings Books & Gifts, I saw this DVD. The black/white immediately caught my attention, and also the Vivien Leigh look of the actress on it (Siobahn McKenna). From the 1960s? No, from 1948! I'm a sucker for '40s films, and this being a Gothic/Noir...well you know (wink). From the back panel:

"An atmospheric Gothic chiller following an Irish maid with an irresistable attraction to men. With the reputation as a temptress where even the local priest is after her, sexual desire soon descends into brutal psychopathy with a grave ending!

A startling film for its time, Daughter of Darkness posed censorship problems at the time of its release, due to its dark material, and has since remained a lost film waiting to be rediscovered."

I watched it last night and loved it! McKenna is excellent as Emmi Beaudine, a natural beauty who innocently possesses a powerful sexuality. Men are violently attracted to her, obsessive; one man rapes her. Women are equally violent towards her: Jealous and suspicious. When she's driven from the Irish village as servant to the local parish priest, she arrives on an English farm as a servant. History repeats itself and Emmi finds herself in similar troubles with angry hostile females and hotly arduous males. Meanwhile she's honestly puzzled and discomforted by the intensity of the raw emotions constantly swirling around her. Emmi is accused of being "a brazen slut," though she's simply going about life seeking acceptance and the warmth of family and friends. Emmi is soon fired from her servant's job on the English farm; desperate, she has nowhere to go and fears a repeat of her usual experiences elsewhere. Tensions swiftly mount to a startling conclusion.

McKenna carried the character off beautifully. I could almost believe she is Emmi. The character is, imo, sympathetic; I felt sorry for Emmi and liked her. The dialogue, acting, storyline are all wonderfully executed. As for the parish priest lusting after Emmi, that's incorrect.

Extra Features includes "Kiss of Death: Femme Fatale on Film," an "exclusive expert insight into film noir and the femme fatale." I enjoyed this too.

It's a tight little thriller which I'm glad to have in my DVD collection. I'm very picky about films, and this one is an ace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coffin Candle Tins: Arrived!

These little gems arrived just 15 minutes ago in the mail. I ordered two of them, "Seattle Rain" scent; one for sister and the other for myself. They are pudgy palm-fit cuties with a mild and pleasing scent. Mine's already on my dresser, and once the wax is burned it'll go into my purse to hold mints or coins. AntiSally tucked in two white matchbooks with crimson lettering, and also a little box of Lemonheads candy with her business card. AntiSally is a professional; she always profusely thanks the customer and service is speedy. is her addy. She makes and sells cruelty-free/vegan soaps, lotions and oils primarily. Other Goth-oriented goodies as well. I do recommend her!

Winona Ryder: Goth Girl

I love Winona Ryder, particularly in "Dracula." It's been quite a while since I've seen this stunningly gorgeous film and it's been in mind. Will pick up a DVD copy of it soon. Gary Oldman is super sexy, a true eye-candy treat. The 1st image is not an actual photo of Winona; it's a painting I found on the internet. She's eternally beautiful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Favorite Seasonal Items

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween -- all around this blog. And since we know Halloween is over, here's some of my favorite December stuff. My "religious" calendar is not easily categorized (that's all I'll say); however, I do enjoy the sights, scents, flavors and overall merriment which is December. And yes, I also do like fruitcake - if it's my mother's recipe. Go ahead and laugh; you're just jealous YOU can't have a slice of it with a dab of fresh butter. >:-p And creamy dreamy homemade eggnog; such a delight. No rum. No liquor shall touch my delicious eggnog! Not that I'm against an occasional mixed drink, it's just that eggnog must remain pure and undefiled. ;-) I've included a photo of Orange Drop Cookies (with orange frosting). They are tender cake-like cookies, fabulously delicious; I've not yet known one person who disliked Orange Drop Cookies (in fact I've known of people *fighting* over them). Have a good season everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The cover I've wanted!

This was scanned by Absinthe of the now-gone (and still very much missed) "Gloomy Sunday" blog. It was her copy of course, and I've hoped to obtain one of my own, but apparently there are very few "out there". Before she unexpectantly pulled the plug on her blog last year, Absinthe offered to let me copy and use her scans; at the time of course I had no idea she was about to cease blogging. :-\ So, on the off-chance you're reading this Absinthe: Thanks again. It's my absolute favorite cover. I've found the novel itself locally (different edition/publisher), and later placed an order for what I thought was THIS edition with THIS cover. Alas it turns out I ordered (and paid S & H) for the same edition as I already had (its cover is pathetic).
What's this cute chubby kitten doing on Garnet Night? Yours truly is in a slightly foul mood this a.m.; something furry and adorable to look at might help restore the merries.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Witches of Windlake, by Miriam Lynch

Late '60s, IIRC. Another bomb by Miriam Lynch (I'm beginning to wonder if "The Bells of Widow's Bay" was an exception for her??). This is another Gothic I set aside after roughly 50 pages (if that) into it. The cover art was obtained via It is one of the more beautifully sinister of covers, and a pity it's a bit blurred. Deep reds and stark blacks dominate.

The story opens with a downtrodden late-teenaged heroine taking a stroll on an icy and bitterly cold late November afternoon. I was born/raised in Iowa, and that just does NOT happen. I wonder if Ms. Lynch was a native southern Californian; they seem to think people up north walk barefoot in the snow. >:-\ Anyway, the heroine's homelife is impoverished and mean. Her stepmother and half-siblings are against her, and she's seeking an afternoon away from the usual drudgery. She again comes across a nearby bleak old mansion and this time, feeling extra gutsy even if the sun is near to sinking beneath the horizon and it's the late 1800s and she has nary a lantern nor a candle on her, decides to investigate.

Turns out the menacing semi-dilapidated old house is inhabited. Initially its inhabitants aren't friendly, but she's allowed entrance. She's sized up by the master of the domain, who likes what he sees; he's a widower with an out-of-control son. Would she be willing to become the child's governess for good pay and free room/board?

The heroine readily accepts. She won't even bother returning home to inform her family. She dines with her new employers, one of whom is grandmother of the heroine's new charge. A fancy dinner is spread out in a luxurious dining room. The delicious meal starts off well enough...and then a pall descends over the hosts. Everyone picks fearfully at their plates. The heroine soon learns that witchly in-laws have been chasing down father and son; and within half an hour these 3 "grand dames" arrive and begin asserting control.

I found the storywriting stilted, and the course of events far too rushed and improbable. Maybe I'll pick it up again some time, but have no great urge to.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Secret of Lucifer's Island, 1967 (?) by Miriam Lynch

This surprising stinker was so bad I nearly forgot I'd begun reading it months ago. Came to mind last evening. Miriam Lynch bombed this time. Ironically another novel of hers published around the same year -- "The Bells of Widow's Bay" -- was a 5 out of 5 stars imo; one of the best Gothics I've yet read.

This story falls flat from the onset. I managed to get to page 60 before putting it away. The story opens with a young (though adult) heroine reluctantly accompanying her flamboyant ex-Vaudeville aunt to visit other retired show-business "friends" on a remote island. Our heroine is exhausted after a long bus ride with her self-centered auntie, and now it's twilight and they're standing on a dock waiting for their boat ride which shows no indication of arriving. Aunt sends heroine to the local rowdy dive (beautiful young virgin to ruffian drunkards; what sort of an aunt is she?) to try and hire a boat. Heroine succeeds. In the darkness they're rudely driven across frightening choppy waters by a coarse and hostile man who curtly informs them he's NOT taking their bags to the island mansion; once they arrive at that dock, they're on their own. Aunt moans and frets; she and heroine struggle up craggy hills and through dense undergrowth and trees, through pitch-black darkness...groping their way to the mansion. When they finally arrive at the mansion (sans sprains, concussions, fractures) somehow they're both magically able to see in the dark. And it seems the mansion is desserted. But no, it's not -- a lady answers the door, who is immediately hostile and refuses to permit them entry. The heroine is nearly (understandably) ballistic by this point; turns out her dear old aunt had neglected to inform heroine she'd received no reply to a query to come visiting and took it upon herself to "party crash" the place. Her goal? To seduce and marry the wealthy retired actor who owns the island.

Everyone at the mansion are cold and UNwelcoming of their "guests."

Next we find the heroine escorted to a dingy, poorly furnished room. She learns, to her continued delight, that auntie's room is clear across the mansion. Somehow she manages to trace aunt and ex-lady friend (in a hugely sprawling and dimly lit strange mansion??); they're arguing. Heroine, not wanting to be discovered eavesdropping, hurries back to her room -- but not before she sees a ghost.

At this point I stopped reading on the basis of "too improbable" and just plain silly. Nice cover art though; got it from Ebay I think.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Vampire Tarot : Part 2

Earlier this week I posted about this Tarot deck. I have a Tarot collection (related to Jungian psychology), but no longer do readings.

I'd purchased this gorgeous deck a week ago, but waited until the time was right to open the box: Tonight. Actually I've not yet removed the shrink wrap from the cards themselves to savor the art, and won't until the time is right.

A bit of humor: The box lid is difficult to remove from the box itself. It is a very snug fit and it occurred to me if an actual vampire had this much trouble lifting a coffin lid, s/he'd have suffocated already - lol!

Tucked inside the black gem of a box is the shrink-wrapped deck of cards, snug in a recessed compartment; above and covering the cards is a beautiful soft-cover book which design matches the box lid's exterior. It is 227 pages and filled not only with an overview of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," but also a history of the Tarot and then a general (though concise) history of vampirism in Europe.

If you've ever wondered why vampire legends abounded in Eastern Europe versus Western Europe (I vaguely have but never pursued it), I came across an interesting bit of history in the book: After "The Great Schism" of 1054 (the split of the eastern Greek Church and western Roman Catholic), the Greek Church continued its belief in vampires, i.e. that an uncorrupted corpse was a sign of an evildoer whom sacred ground had rejected. The RC Church held a radically different view: Uncorrupted corpses were a sure sign of a saint. Also (going further back in time), during Charlemagne's reign (800 - 814 AD) the RC Church forbade belief in vampires. However, once the Inquisition geared up centuries know the rest: "Everyone's a heretic" -- including the now very real vampire.

I am very much looking forward to reading the **treasure trove** of historical information in the book!

Another humorous note: While browsing through the short section on Tarot history and black/white reproduced images of standard (other deck) Trumps, I thought I read "Lemonade." :-O Huh?! No, it is "Le Monde": French for "The World" of course.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Coffin Candle Tins from AntiSally

And other goodies!

Okay, I know it's probably not Goth to say "Oh, aren't those CUTE?" But yeah: Those coffin candle tins are *adorable.* :-D

***Introduction Priced at $3.99:

Coffin Candle Tins. Each 2" metal coffin tin filled with 100% natural soy wax in your choice of GothRosary Fragrances and a pure cotton wick. The perfect spa candle for those personal inventory days. A great over the hill gift or the best way to tell your Goth that you love them. The empty tin is a lovely keepsake box for pocket or purse...***

I've done business with AntiSally before and highly recommend her at: She makes all sorts of cool stuff, including a private Goth item I particularly cherish. Will do business with her again soon (and no, she's not aware that I'm promoting her and doesn't know about this blog).

Gothic Tarot of Vampires

Mmmm...I'd like that gorgeous vampire to bite me! ;-p If memory serves, this Tarot was manufactured in the mid-1990s. It is still being manufactured last I knew, though my years-old deck is stashed safely away. Unfortunately my favorite cards in the deck (a vampire hanging upside down and somehow magically toasting another standing on the floor [the wine in his chalice held by reverse gravity apparently], and also the sensuous embrace of a vampire and vampiress) are not available online.

It is a somewhat violent and disturbing deck of cards; a sort of fierce beauty I often don't like. It's also a strange cocktail of European sophistication, Detroit gritty city, "The Crow"-esque: Sometimes sauve and elegant, other times back-alley and grimy. I can't think of a single adjective to describe it. The inclusion of Japanese dwarf trees (of all things!) in a couple of cards is outright outlandish. It's a busy deck with a hodge-podge of semi-related images. Frankly I sometimes think it's the stupidest deck ever, does all come together somehow.

More information:

Three Cover Scans

I love all three of these covers, and would particularly like to have "Bride of Death"; not because of the cover art but because it's a Belmont Gothic and I've yet to read a bomb from that publisher. ACE and the others get ballyhooed a lot, but Belmont Gothics are consistently very good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good Riddance to The Decade from Hell!

It's only fair to post some images (obtained via internet and NOT scanned by me) if I'm going to blather a bit. "Time" Magazine proclaimed this decade "The Decade From Hell." I heartily agree; however, we (husband/myself) have had a handful of good/fortunate things for which we're thankful/grateful. The last (I hope) "hurrah!" in this weird and troubling decade occurred a scant 2 months ago: A cute old (82!) man who I'd considered fatherly and sweet turns out to WANT me. :-O You know the old saying: Snow on the roof, fire in the hearth. Yipes! That was truly stunning. And he's not giving up either! =:-O I've been touched, followed, eavesdropped on by this man. Yesterday he was dressed To The Nines, displaying jealousy towards my husband and smiling knowingly at me. :-( It is STRANGE being aggressively pursued by a very mobile and healthy elderly man. He needs to reconcile with his estranged elderly wife and quit chasing me! Geez. It'd be funny if I weren't so UNsure I couldn't outwrestle/outwrangle him if the old boy gets insistent enough. :-( Yeah, he played it very cool and innocent until the mask came off. Life sure IS full of surprises. Sort of like Gothic Suspense!

I do have "Greystones." It'll be read later. Basically I'm something of a nerd girl with an IQ of 130 who prefers serious and nonfiction, such as "The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World's Most Astonishing Number" by Mario Livio [2002]. I recommend it! ;-)

Oh, and I *love* the cover of "Shadow of a Witch." I'm still hoping to obtain a copy of it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Vampire Tarot :: Robert M. Place

I do like Tarot. :-) But I don't read the cards for two reasons, one of which is they're too habit-forming (to the point of being a weakness).

The other day whilst yours truly was traipsing through Barnes & Noble, this gorgeous black and crimson box grabbed my eye. Sort of like Bugs Bunny's sudden-stop {{-!!KOING!!-}} reaction. :-p

Inner thoughts: {No. Don't buy it. Habit forming!}

Next day: Bought it. :-p

But it's still unopened. These things take aging wine.
;-) And I don't even like wine. Okay, like good sex then. :-D

The factor which decided me, aside from the art of course, was the direct tie-in to Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

I, a former ace Tarot reader, will also say it is powerful. Even wrapped and unopened. The second I held the box in my hands, I felt its deeply powerful resonance (as a child I had the gift of psychometry; knew what was inside wrapped gifts; always freaked my parents and sister out). I look forward to enjoying the lovely art and reading the accompanying book.

And of course Mina is always Winona Ryder (who I've not yet forgiven for breaking up with Johnny Depp!). ;-)