RELEASE DATE: Aug. 16, 2023
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These two images gave me the idea of a cursed and dying bloodline,
with the old woman turning into Helena Ash, the young boy inspiring
Crispin Ash, and the figures in the portrait, Maximillian Ash and
Marianne Ash. The spare and dark setting of both images also gave rise
to the idea of a house that was designed to be a maze and a trap, meant
to protect not the family from danger, but the outside world from the
The central image in the moodboard is by Magdalena Pagowska, who specializes in fantasy art with beautiful, androgynous young men for her subjects (by and large). The image that inspired me is called "Innocence", and it shows a boy holding a lamb and crowned with roses. He has all the trappings of the concept of innocence except for the fact that his hands are bloody (happily the lamb is alive), and just like the young boy in Lee's art, he's also incredibly pale with light hair and light eyes. He looks out at the viewer with an unsettling gaze that feels both dead and yet not. He was my model for Crispin Ash primarily.Vade retro Satana, an invocation that takes on a more physical quality in the book. The upper right corner image is a detail from the Winchester Mystery House and its strange stained glass windows showcasing inexplicably chosen texts from Shakespeare's 'Troilus and Cressida. Text in stained glass windows plays a prominent role in the setting of the book, and the Winchester Mystery House gave me the inspiration for it, in particular the labyrinthine design of the house, which translated into something much more sinister in the novella.
And as for musical inspiration, I listened a lot to Nox Arcana's Shadow of the Raven album, which includes songs inspired by Poe's gothic poetry and stories. "The Raven" in particular is haunting and beautiful and was the track that led the charge, in a manner of speaking.
The House of Ash is a long novella of 50,000 words. It's gothic horror, a gothic romance, vampire fiction, and a historical fantasy. Content warnings involve off-screen incest, rape in history, and murder within the family. The book is available in both print and e-book.