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!
Don’t get me wrong, Stephen King and Dean Koontz are great writers and I’ve read dozens of their books. But there are so many other excellent authors out there that most people have never heard of. So, I feel it’s my duty to spread the word about these captains of the horror world and some of their better books. Every month I’ll post 3 different books so you have time to pick them up and read them. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
1. The Store, by Bentley Little. — Bentley is a master at exposing the dark fears hidden behind every day people, places and events. He’s arguably the best in the biz now. The Store is a twisted story of a Walmart-ish superstore run by the worst that hell has to offer. Clean up in aisle 666!
2. Necroscope, by Brian Lumley. This is the first in a series of vampire books that Lumley wrote in the 80′s. After all the crap we’ve seen about vampires, this should purge the sparkle from them. These beasts are otherwordly and downright savage. Possibly one of the best horor series ever written.
3. The Magic Cottage, by James Herbert. Not many folks in the US know about his work. Basically, James Herbert is the Stephen King of the UK. And this book is one of his best. Thanks to my pal Karl the Welsh Dragon for turning me on to him.
So now the question is, what books do you think should go on this list?
Need more horror? Brave enough to enter the Forest of Shadows?
What are some of your favorite horror novels? It’s always great to discover new authors and books.