Church Graveyards: Innocent in Light, Malevolent in Darkness
I live right next to a graveyard. One of those very old (it’s a Saxon church), mossy, overgrown ones, where the stones lean towards one another like gossiping women outlined in ivy. In high summer it’s all innocent, long grass and meadow flowers, full of cats and chickens scratching about or sitting on the stones in the sun. But late, late at night, when the dark is so thick that you need a stick to get through it, and the wind is kicking against the side of the old bell-tower, it is a spooky place. and in winter, when the dark comes early and leaves late, it is the sort of place you don’t want to look at directly in case you see something. Something which shouldn’t be there, something moving, close to the ground. Something bent double with its face hidden, for which you must be grateful, because there is an air about this thing that tells you you really don’t want to see its features…
And it’s this wonderful dichotomy, this split-personality that comes with the darkness that I find fascinating. I’m not easily scared – well, except by spiders and my bank account, but on nights when I have to fetch the hens in from the churchyard because it’s getting dark and they need shutting in, I find myself hurrying so that I can be out of there before true dark comes down. And this is a place so close to my house that I can look in through my kitchen window from the church door, so it is as domestic as possible for a half-acre of wilderness ground. And yet…. Innocent in light, malevolent in darkness.
Bit like me then, really.
I suppose it’s human nature – our self-protective instincts that cut in when it’s dark, telling us that there might be something dangerous out there, hiding in the shadows, waiting to disembowel us if we venture out during the hours of night. And yet, my conscious mind knows that the local church has nothing scarier than some really large spiders hiding in its grounds, that the stones are just that – stones, and that all those buried there are safely buried and remain so. In that case, why am I reluctant to walk up that path at nightfall? Why do I draw the blinds and keep my eyes averted during the long winter nights? The most terrifying thing I am likely to see, my mind tells me, is the local verger going to lock the door, and, while he can be marginally scary, he’s not likely to send me screaming back to the comfort of my fireside, trembling and pale and full of tales of a something…
But there’s a pleasure in being scared, isn’t there? When we are safe and warm, the lights keeping the dark in its place, we love to read tales of the Other, of hauntings and mysterious knockings from sealed rooms, our names called in places where no-one should be, and the night concealing sights better not seen.
Because we know they are just stories. Of course they are. Aren’t they?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane lives in North Yorkshire with her five children, four cats, two dogs and an ever-increasing number of bacteria. Jane believes housework happens to other people, and writes romantic comedy novels in a frantic attempt to avoid being asked to ever do any. She works by day in a local school, writes in the evenings and never watches television, unless it’s Doctor Who or anything featuring Tony Robinson. She has two books published by Samhain and her three most recent novels are published by Choc Lit Publishing. Her novel Please Don’t Stop the Music was voted Romantic Comedy of the Year and overall Romantic Novel of the Year for 2012, which enable Jane to give a series of rambling speeches which featured incontinence wear far more frequently than anyone liked.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Jessica Grant knows vampires only too well. She runs the York Council tracker programme making sure that Otherworlders are all where they should be, keeps the filing in order and drinks far too much coffee. To Jess, vampires are annoying and arrogant and far too sexy for their own good, particularly her ex-colleague Sil, who’s now in charge of Otherworld York.
But when a demon turns up and threatens not just Jess but the whole world order, she and Sil are forced to work together, and when Jess turns out to be the key to saving the world it puts a very different slant on their relationship. The stakes are high. They are also very, very pointy and Jess isn’t afraid to use them, even on the vampire that she’s rather afraid she’s falling in love with…
Jane is kindly giving away THREE (3) copies of her newly released paranormal romance novel, Vampire State of Mind.
For entry into the giveaway please answer the following question then fill out the form below: What do you most dread seeing if you look out into a dark night?
This giveaway is UK ONLY and ends 31st October 2012
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