Once again, Thanksgiving ruled. Great company, tons of food and my Seahawks won. Now, today is a day of rest for the Shea clan. I plan to do a lot of reading and work a tad on my novella.
For all you readers out there, today is a very special day for you. Samhain Publishing is having a huge Black Friday weekend sale, starting right now. Every single book in the store, print and ebook, is 30% off until Monday night.
So, if you’ve been on the fence about diving into the deep end of the horror pool, now’s your chance to take that leap.
You can catch up on any of my books you’ve missed for less than a cup of coffee. Here are the sweet deals waiting for you. Happy reading!
Hell Hole – ebook now $3.85, print $11.20
The Waiting – ebook now $2.45
Sinister Entity – ebook now $3.85, print $10.50
Swamp Monster Massacre – ebook now $2.45
Evil Eternal – ebook now $3.85, print $9.80
Forest of Shadows – ebook now $3.85, print $10.50
The recent disclosure of a series of exorcisms performed on the children of the Ammons family in Indiana have a lot of people not only scratching their heads, but considering the reality of true evil. I’m well aware that many people are also rolling their eyes in disbelief. I mean, the stories of what happened to that poor family are pretty hard to wrap your head around. It makes The Exorcist look like an ABC family movie. But what if it’s true?
The possessed children in this case were ages 7, 9 and 12. Witnesses that included police, doctors, nurses and representatives of the Department of Child Protective Services all saw things that defied their versions of reality. The kids reportedly levitated, walked backwards up a wall and onto the ceiling, spoke in strange, terrifying voices and even had their facial features change. Ministers were called to the scene, as well as a host of medical professionals. They all found the mother and children to be of sound minds. There was no history of abuse. They were a normal family, until the demons took hold of the helpless children.
There are over 800 pages of documentation outlining the horror the Ammons family faced. Professionals with upstanding reputations have put it all on the line in confirming the impossible things they saw. Pictures of the house and family reveal disturbing images of shadow people, leering faces and unexplainable objects.
So what is this? A hoax? Hysteria? Mass delusion? A desperate cry for attention? Any one of these options brings comfort to the masses. We can let the story fade within the ebb and flow of the news cycle and go about our lives, unencumbered by big questions with even bigger consequences.
Exorcisms are real. That’s an undeniable fact. Just this month, Pope Francis announced that the Vatican is training a host of new exorcists to combat a rise in Satanic worship in Italy and Spain. I remember a couple of years ago when there was a similar call for trained exorcists in America. My family knew a monsignor who had been specially qualified to perform the rites of exorcism, and had been called to duty several times. He was reluctant to speak of them, simply reassuring us that evil was real, as real as the computer you’re reading this blog on, as real as love and happiness, life and death.
The big question is, does evil live in the heart and soul of man, or is it a dark presence outside of man, a demonic force waiting patiently for our weaker moments so it can take root? Worse still, is it both? In our every increasing secular society, people prefer to think the former. Evil is a character trait, an emotion, a momentary lapse in moral judgement. Devout Christians and a host of other religions will tell you it’s the latter, that demons do exist.
Whatever wellspring that spawns evil, the very concept chills us to the bone. Movies about demonic possession have been frightening people for decades. From The Exorcist to The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, Paranormal Activity, The Last Exorcism, we are both attracted to and repelled by the notion. Like moths to an inviting flame, we can’t stay away, yet we’re terrified to stare too deeply into the fire.
I see movies and books about exorcism and possession as a kind of exorcism in itself. The more we fictionalize it, the less real it becomes, which, in turn, robs the concept of its power over us. The Ammons case, with all of its supporting evidence, has the ability to demolish the walls we build to keep out the evil things out while reassuring us that our bad decisions have no long-lasting consequences.
Or we can tell ourselves that they’re crazy, or liars, or fame seekers. Or better yet, just let the story fade away.
For people interested in learning more about exorcisms and the church’s stand on the practice, there’s a very good book I can recommend called American Exorcism by Michael W. Cuneo.
It’s been a couple of years since I explored the wonder and mysteries of Catholicism in my book, Evil Eternal, albeit it in a very overly dramatic fashion. I decided to dip my toe back in the holy water with a new short story, Confessional, available exclusively at Pen of the Damned.
Growing up an altar boy and singer in the church choir, the one aspect of my faith as a good Irish Catholic that frightened me was the act of confession. I was always worried that the priest would see me in a different, negative light once he knew I lied to a teacher and took the Lord’s name in vain (thanks to my grandfather for that one – he used ‘goddammit’ with positive flair). The act of confession doesn’t get easier as you get older.
Priests are, after all, only human. Could you look the other way if someone you were close to confessed to abusing a child, or cheating on their spouse with numerous partners, or robbing a liquor store, or even worse, murder? We ask for forgiveness, release our burden, perform our acts of contrition. But just as energy can never be destroyed, perhaps so the weight of sin. Confession is an act of transference, so though you may leave the church with a lighter heart, what happens to the priest?
These are the things nagging at my brain as I wrote Confessional. If you’re curious as to what goes on within its confines, I suggest you bow your head and step inside….
Once you’ve cleansed your sins, post a comment here on or on Twitter using #HunterConfesses and you’re eligible to win a signed copy of Evil Eternal. I’ll announce winners next week.
Most of all, what do you think of confession? What are your experiences?
Want to help me haunt the world?
For folks in the US only, spread the word about my novel, Sinister Entity, as well as the companion story, The Graveyard Speaks, on Twitter, Facebook, you name it, and you can win a Prize Pack that includes signed copies of my first two books, Forest of Shadows, & Evil Eternal. Think of it as advancing literacy and a love of the paranormal.
Here’s how you do it. If you’re on Twitter, tweet the books with a link to them (Amazon, B&N or Samhain) with the hashtag #HunterShea. Promote them on other social media platforms and send me the link either on my FB fan page (link to it on the right) or email me at email@example.com. Once I see it, you’re in the drawing.
The reviews right out of the gate have been fantastic. “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.” — Matthew Scott Baker, Shattered Ravings Reviews
“Sinister Entity is a great, chilling ghost story with a satisfying twist on the usual. Sinister Entity – for a good scare, but keep the lights on.” — Fresh Fiction Reviews
One winner will be announced Friday, April 19th. And knowing me, I’ll have some extra goodies to give out.
***Congratulations to Gem Blackthorn who won signed copies of Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal! Thank you to everyone who participated. — Hunter
I had to search through my files for my tattered bucket list this week and draw a nice, straight line through one of the items, ala My Name is Earl. To my surprise, the audio book of my novel, Evil Eternal, was just released. As I told my good friend, Jack, now I can afflict the blind with my brand of horror.
I can’t describe the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you hear a professional read your words back to you. In Evil Eternal’s case, narrator Seth Michael Donsky adds a delicious, sinister flair to the story. Hearing him read the book, I kept saying, “Did I write that?” I couldn’t have asked for a better person to narrate it. You can download a copy at Amazon or Audible, and also hear a sample from the very first chapter. It’s ultra-wicked.
Also, if you purchase the audio book, you’ll be putting a nice deposit in your personal karma bank. My wife was diagnosed with Lupus last year. Apparently, she’s had it for years but her doctors assumed it was other things. Lupus is like that. I’m donating 25% of all the royalties from the sale of the Evil Eternal audio book to the Lupus Foundation of America. We never knew how debilitating Lupus could be until we came face-to-face with it. We have a very long road ahead of us, but we’re indebted to one amazing doctor for realizing what was taking my wife from me, piece by piece. Help us make sure no one else has to go through what we and so many others have.
It’s been a very strange week here in NY & CT where I live and work. We’re all trying to get in the holiday spirit, but the unthinkable events at Sandy Hook Elementary are never far from our thoughts. I had to write a blog of my publisher’s website on Monday. Hardest thing I ever had to write. You can read it here.
I NEED to be Santa today, in a small way, to help get me in the mood. So, I picked the winners from my previous Christmas post. Here are the winners and the booty you each get. Please email your address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send everything out.
And the winners are:
- Jason Darrick : signed copy of Evil Eternal
- Kimmie : signed copy of Forest of Shadows
- Marinda Hatcher-Grindstaff : Swamp Monster Massacre T Shirt
- Erin (from Hook of a Book) : signed copy of Forest of Shadows
- Joe Pinto : signed copy of Evil Eternal
- Jennifer Mathis : e-copy of Swamp Monster Massacre
- Robert Stava : e-copy of Swamp Montser Massacre
- Paul Dail : e-copy of Swamp Monster Massacre
Now, if any of you who won signed books prefers e-books, let me know and I can easily accomodate. I never know what folks prefer.
Merry Christmas to all of you and a happy, healthy and wealthy New Year! And please spread the Christmas love by sharing the Monster Men Christmas episode with everyone you meet. 🙂