With the Halloween season creeping up on us like Jason with a new hockey mask, it’s time to start getting our scare on. I figured I’d kick things off with an excerpt from my terrifying ghost novel, Sinister Entity. Read on, but keep the light switch nearby and make sure to keep your foot tucked in the covers. Oh, and don’t fear going to the bathroom in the dead of night…too much.
Let me know what you think of the excerpt (or the book) and I’ll give away a free signed copy to a random person who posts a comment.
The small bathroom was just off the kitchen and was her father’s sanctuary. A magazine basket filled with well-thumbed copies of Sports Illustrated and Newsweek sat between the toilet and sink. She took a moment to lean against the sink and calm her nerves. Even if Jessica and Eddie somehow managed to make everything go away, she wasn’t sure she could ever spend another night in this house.
Being scared or anxious always made her have to pee, and she was surprised she had lasted this long without letting off the mounting pressure on her bladder. She unbuttoned her shorts and pulled them down with her panties.
“Oh my God that feels good.”
It felt as if she hadn’t gone to the bathroom in weeks and the stream came out in a never-ending rush.
There was a soft tap on the tile floor, and she gasped when air in the cramped room changed, becoming icy and thick. It was like trying to draw a breath through a cold, wet towel. Her heartbeat burst into high gear until she could hear the pounding of its overworked valves in her ears.
She bent down to pull up her shorts and shrieked when a pair of arctic hands clutched her wrists, pinning them to her sides.
She barely managed to cry out, “No!”
The rest of her words were cut off. She was being suffocated. Something blocked her nose and mouth and she struggled to draw a breath while the cold, invisible hands moved to her thighs, slowly creeping inward.
This article first appeared on Jonathan Janz’s awesome website.
As you read this, know that I’m one day closer to my death.
I’m dying, little by little, day by day.
Then again, so are you. It’s as inevitable as death in Texas. Or something with taxes. Or Wesley Snipes.
Of all the uncertainties that we face in our lives, from wondering where you’ll get your next job to hoping that cute girl in accounting won’t call HR if you ask her out, there is only one thing that’s a surefire, foregone conclusion. We’re all going tits-up one day.
When the 2012 mania was in full swing and I talked to people who actually believed that the world was going to end, I told them I looked forward to the apocalypse. You see, with my way of thinking, it’s better to slip off this plane with billions of people than alone while mowing my lawn. I honestly felt that some of these folks wanted the Mayans to be right. My New Year’s vow was to spend less time talking to them.
I’m amazed by how little we devote to contemplating our death. I used to study with a Buddhist monk. I’ve never been more relaxed in my life than when I was in his presence. He once gave me a meditation contemplative to use and I’ll never forget it. As I let my breathing flow, I would say, over and over, “I could die today.” It was really powerful and took my mind to some strange, but enlightening places.
Most people want to live while they’re alive because there’s plenty of time to think about death when you’re shaking hands with rigor mortis. Me, I have to know more. I want to see what’s waiting for us on the other side. I’m loving life, but I’m damn interested in what happens when life has played itself out. Ballgame over. Or is it?
This explains my fascination with ghosts. Of all the supernatural experiences recorded throughout human history, none is more prevalent and far reaching as sightings of ghosts, or spirits, or phantoms. What are they? Who are they? Are they proof of an afterlife, or an extension of the untapped powers of the living mind? Or glimpses of very much alive people caught in an inter-dimensional slip?
I don’t know. I’ve seen ghosts. We have one living in our house. He’s as much a part of the family as our vindictive cat. But I have no idea what he actually is. I just know that he shows up from time to time, only scaring my wife once when he wouldn’t let her pass by him in the kitchen. It’s creepy when you say it out loud, but when you live it, you get used to it. He’s far less annoying than my neighbors who think 10:00 at night is a great time to start a house party that will go on until the sun comes up – or the cops arrive.
So, I write about ghosts. I get invited to come to haunted places. I’ll even tag along with a professional paranormal team this year. Maybe I’ll find my answers. Maybe I’ll just find more questions. And maybe my neighbors will move. Dare to dream.
My latest novel, Sinister Entity, is, naturally, about ghosts. Or more specifically, about a 19 year old ghost hunter named Jessica who’s taken up the family business and still has a lot to learn. If you’re into ghosts, poltergeists and doppelgangers, take the plunge. Jessica’s quest is very much my own. She’s just a hell of a lot cooler than me.
I’ve been told I need to ‘brag’ a little more about my own work, in between talking about ghosts, black eyed kids and various monsters living under our beds. I just want to be mini-Leonard Nimoy and live in my In Search Of world. Since my latest book, Sinister Entity, has been out for a couple of months now, I thought I’d share some of the great things that reviewers have said about my foray into ghost hunting a doppelganger. I suck at tooting my own horn, so I’ll let some outside tooters do it for me.
If the reviews below entice you to take the plunge and you purchase Sinister Entity, simply email me at email@example.com with proof of purchase and I’ll send you an e-copy of the Hunter Shea book of your choice.
“5/5 For a great suspenseful read, paranormal elements that wouldn’t let go and characters that feel so alive, they have become people I actually want to know in real life. Dialog and action are perfect!” — Zombie Girl Shambling (my personal favorite blog name)
“Shea weaves together a skillful blend of supernatural terror and blood-chilling suspense; the result is an intriguing and unique tale that will leave your heart pounding in your chest long after the final page has been closed. Make no mistake: this is not a book you want to read in the dark.” — Matthew Baker for Shattered Ravings
“Looking for a book to completely freak you out and make your hair stand on end? Shea brings his smooth and easy writing style, well-developed and emotional characters, hauntingly good paranormal dilemmas, and enough gusto to scare me out of my seat. I wouldn’t read this alone and especially not in the dark.” — Oh For the Hook of a Book Reviews
“Recommend for anyone who is interested in hours of tense, action-packed, horror-filled reading. Sinister Entity isn’t for the lighthearted but it’s well worth taking the plunge.” — Overflowing Bookshelves
“The story culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages.” Horror Novel Reviews
“Wow wow wow! What a book! Mr Shea may well be proudly listed with my favourite Authors from now on.” — Sarah Fae Books
DOPPELGANGER : a ghostly double of a living person that haunts its living counterpart.
Today marks the official release of my 4th novel with Samhain Publishing’s horror line, Sinister Entity. For those of you who read my debut novel in 2011, Forest of Shadows, this book will have a few familiar characters. It picks up where things left off, only 13 years later (love that lucky 13). If you didn’t read FOS, no worries. Sinister Entity was written to be a standalone novel, kicking off what I hope will be a terrifying series that delves into the darker realms of the paranormal.
Now, what does this all have to do with doppelgangers? It turns out, quite a few notable people in history, from Percy Shelley to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, have had encounters with doppelgangers…sometimes with disastrous results. Doppelganger is German for ‘double walker’. It’s literally a paranormal double of a living person. The whole phenomenon has fascinated me for years. So I did what all writers do; created my own doppelganger and had it take one on.
Normally on a release day, I’d post an excerpt from the book to get you hooked like the crack dealer I am. This time around, I can do you one better. I wrote a short story that introduces the main character of Sinister Entity during her investigation of a wailing, shadowy ghost that haunts a snow filled cemetery. It’s called The Graveyard Speaks and here’s the best part. It’s free! Download your copy and if you want more, come on over and face the evil spirits in Sinister Entity.
But wait, there’s more! My book is being released alongside my buddy Jonathan Janz’s awesome new novel, The Darket Lullaby. To celebrate, the simply amazing Erin from Hook of a Book reviews is hosting a FB author Q&A on April 2nd between 9 and 11pm ET. Email questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll post them on FB. Jonathan and I will do our best to amuse and if needed, frighten you. Nothing is out of bounds. Seriously. Click here to Like the page and join the party.
I’m not done. Call within the next 10 minutes and you’ll get 4 Shamwows for the price of 1. Wait. Scratch that. What I meant to say is that I’m also giving away a signed copy of Forest of Shadows to a random person who comments on this blog post. If you live outside the US, I’ll send you an e-version of the book.
So come on, grab your voice recorders and a change of underwear. We’re going on a sinister ghost hunt.
We’re just days away from the global release of Evil Eternal (poor, poor world). Not one to sit on my duff, I’ve been hard at work at some other exciting things, but I’ll save that for a later post.
Below is the official Evil Eternal Blog Tour. Be sure to check in at each stop because there will be all kinds of freebies and signed books.
Dreadful Tales (5/1)
Wodke Hawkinson (5/1)
Cate Gardner (5/2)
Jonathan Janz (5/3)
Oh, For The Hook of a Book! (5/5 for National Comic Book Day!)
eBook Swag (5/7, 5/15, 5/16, 5/22, 6/11)
The Happy Horror Writer (5/7)
Last Krist on the Left (5/10)
Frazer Lee (5/14)
J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer (5/17)
Damien Walters Grintalis (5/21)
PromoteHorror (5/2 & ongoing)
The release of Forest of Shadows is only 1 week away and it’s time to get the ghosts out of the closet and from under the bed. Following is the opening chapter. You might want to sleep with the lights on tonight…
And impossible as it seemed, George Bolster was grateful for his family’s unbridled cries of terror as they masked the other unearthly sounds that ghosted their every move.
Whump. Whump. Whump.
The steady beat of an unseen giant’s footsteps up the stairs.
“Into the bedroom, now!” George shouted at his panicked wife and sons. They scrabbled into the room at the end of the hall while the floor quaked beneath their feet. Once inside, George slammed the door shut and braced his back against its oak frame. His sons Cory and Matt clung toSharon’s sides, their eyes wide and terrified, darting around the room, looking for death in benign shadows.
“Sharon, push the dresser over.”
Stifling a sob that made her entire body shudder, she reluctantly pulled away from the boys and ran over to the large dresser. George grunted as the unseen force in the hallway pounded against the door.
Matt leapt to his mother’s side to help push the heavy piece of furniture across the floor and against the bedroom door. Cory, who was only six and barely forty pounds, could only curl up into a corner and whimper. A clap of thunder made the entire house quake and they all shrieked in unison. George still pressed his weight against the door while Sharon and Matt gathered as much bulk as they could find and piled it as high and as fast as they could on top of the dresser.
The door shook as it was rammed again and again, so hard that the arch above the doorway began to crack. It wouldn’t be long before the entire wall would collapse and then where could they go?
A deep thrumming emanated from beyond the door, a sonorous hum that was not so much heard as it was felt. It hurt like hell. They felt it vibrate their chest walls, disrupt the hammering rhythm of their hearts. It crept up their spines and exploded in their skulls, threatening to liquefy their brains.
So they screamed. Fighting fire with fire. The pile of debris stashed against the door shook as the pounding on the door continued. Staggering on jellied knees, George peered out the sole window into the moon bathed woods outside. It was only a drop of twenty feet or so. Maybe, if he jumped first, he could catch them one at a time and they could run into the woods. But it was so damn cold, well below zero, and they didn’t have a coat between them. Could they possibly navigate their way through the snow steeped forest to their nearest neighbor a mile away?
Suddenly, everything stopped. The pain ceased and they all dropped to their knees. What sounded like a thousand tiny claws ticked across the hardwood floor of the hallway, retreating to the other end and descending the staircase that lead to the living room below.
George shook his head and went back to the window.
“Is it gone, daddy?” Cory whispered.
“I don’t know. Everyone stay quiet.”
He kept his eyes on the faintly illuminated yard and his ears tuned for any sounds within the house. Matt and Cory muffled their cries into their mother’s breast.
“What are you thinking?”Sharonmouthed.
George pointed out the window and used two fingers to simulate running. It was their only chance.
“George, we’ll freeze to death.”
One look from her husband ended any protest. Gently pulling the boys from her sides, she went over to the dresser and found two blankets, several pairs of sport socks and one wool hat. She worked in silence, wrapping the boys in the blankets and putting an extra pair of socks on their shoeless feet. Cory, being the youngest and frailest, got the hat.
George gathered his family by the window.
“I’m going to jump into the snow out there. Matt, I want you to go next, then Cory, then mom. Once we’re all out, I want you to stick close and run as fast as you can. We’re going to try to make it to Glenn’s house.”
“But that’s really far and it’s so dark out,” Matt protested.
George hugged him and felt close to tears. “I know, little man, I know. But we have to get out of here and Glenn’s house is the closest to us.”
“Maybe it’s gone away,” Cory said. They all looked towards the door. The entire house had been silent for almost five minutes now.
Sharonplaced a hand on her husband’s shoulder. “It might not be a bad idea to wait a while and see.”
George wanted nothing more than to run like hell from his house. Freezing to death was a welcomed option to the thing downstairs.
“I’m not sure−”
The floor exploded just five feet from where they sat as the assault recommenced, this time from below. A fist-sized hole opened up between the splintered wood. A maniacal rush of thrashing and clawing blasted from the fresh portal as the floor shook from repeated efforts to widen the gap.
George threw the window up hard, shattering the glass. Without a moment’s hesitation, he jumped out into the cold night. He landed in a three foot pile of snow that cushioned his fall. His right leg throbbed a little and his lungs hurt as he sucked in his first draft of frigid air.
“Okay, Matt, jump!” he shouted.
Sharonplucked her youngest son and aimed him into his father’s waiting arms. George caught him and they both fell back into the snow. He was back on his feet by the time Cory had himself perched on the windowsill. Cory looked back at his mother, afraid to leave her alone, even if it was only for a moment.
“Go, Cory. I’ll be right behind you.”
The opening in the floor grew wider as more shards of wood shot out of the hole like lava from a volcano. Cory sprang into the air and almost sailed past his father. After a quick tumble in the freezing snow, George was back up and waiting forSharon.
Heavy moaning filled the room.Sharon’s bladder lost control. Something was trying to find purchase on the jagged edges of the hole. Something huge, black and evil.
“Sharon! Come on!” George and the boys were shouting to her from the yard. Momentarily mesmerized by creeping fear, she turned back to the window and placed a foot on the sill.
As she prepared to jump, a trio of shadows stretched from the trees like a sentient ink spill and engulfed her family. One second they were there, calling for her to jump, and the next instant they were gone as the shadows retreated back into the forest.
She never noticed the presence behind her.
If you’re ready for more, just click on the cover image to pre-order your copy today.
That’s right, there are now 13 days until the release of Forest of Shadows, and 13 has always been my lucky number. All of the authors of the new Samhain horror line kinda feel like X-Men, the first class. I call Professor X…unless Ramsey Campbell really wants it. For chits and giggles, pick an author below and tell us what X-Man they should be:
Ramsey Campbell / Brian Moreland / W.D. Gagliani / Kristopher Rufty / Ronald Malfi / Hunter Shea
Little Miss Zombie posted a very thorough blog that highlights all of the Samhain releases for the rest of the year. If you’re a horror junkie in need a a fix, especially after Leisure horror bit the dust, come get your fix.
Samhain Publishing has finally announced their October lineup of releases for their new horror line. My book, Forest of Shadows, is in some pretty esteemed company. Can you say Leisure Horror, part 2? Excuse me while I do the happy watusi for the rest of the day.
If you’re not reading Scott Nicholson’s books, go to Amazon, B&N, wherever, and rectify that. You can’t be a fan of modern horror if you don’t have a few Nicholson books under your belt. A good place to start is They Hunger. Set in the Appalachian Mountains, several groups of strangers come face to face along the rapids with unadulterated evil. It’s a very sleek twist on the vampire mythology and must be pretty damn good for me to recommend, because like most grown ups, I’m pretty sick of vampires.
The vampires in They Hunger, thankfully, are mindless, merciless beasts driven solely by a need to feed. And feed they must! The great turn here is that the “helpless” human prey in their sights may have darker souls than the creatures gobbling them up like popcorn. You have an abortion clinic bomber who thinks he’s a prophet, a failed FBI agent, a drug addicted Native American, a complete A-hole jock and a whole host of fully formed, damaged individuals. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide who is truly evil : the flawed prey who have the ability to choose between right and wrong, or the hell bent hunters who have only one mission in life.
They Hunger is a great read, as are all of Scott Nicholson’s books. Also highly recommended are The Harvest and The Home. You can’t go wrong. Check out his website for a full listing of his work. If you have a Nook or Kindle, you can start reading in minutes!