It’s been almost 2 years since Jessica Backman’s last foray into the world of the unknown, but she’s finally back. ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN has been officially released. Jessica is in her early twenties now and completely disenfranchised with the entire concept of ghost hunting. Knowing that she draws the dead to her, empowering those with less than noble intentions, she’s distanced herself from her family, friends and uber psychic, Eddie Home. Instead of running to the dead, she’s now running from them.
Eddie is now a shell of his former self. The power surge he had to employ to save Jessica and the family they were helping in SINISTER ENTITY has left him drained. He’s plagued by the cries of the dead, unable to help them.
Despite their weakness, Eddie and Jessica are both drawn to haunted Ormsby Island off the South Carolina coast. There’s an old mansion there and a secret so taboo, so terrifying, the world has done its best to wipe it from its collective memory. To save the living, they must face their deepest fears.
Early reviews have been great!
“When I’m ready to reconsider my views of the afterlife, of the nature and motivations of individuals, of the meanings of life and purpose, I look to Hunter Shea. He brings to the early 21st century the kind of thought-provoking literary horror that Ambrose Bierce gave to the 19th century.” Mallory Heart Reviews
“Island of the Forbidden” is the ultimate haunted house story. There are all of the elements for an explosive story in which everything goes wrong. And in “Island of the Forbidden,” everything goes wrong.” Examiner.com
“The story is a non-stop rush from the first chapter to the satisfying, terrifying end. This is 2015’s first must-read for the horror fan.” Russell James, author of Dark Vengeance and Dreamwalker
“Island of the Forbidden has it all, ghosts, an evil presence, psychics, creepy dead children, an old haunted house, the list goes on. I couldn’t put it down!” – Scarlet’s Web reviews
If ghost stories are you thing, I wrote this book just for you. This isn’t your momma’s ghost tale. Oh no.
You can order a copy of ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN (ebook or trade paperback) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold. If you get it, give me a shout and let me know what you think of it.
We’re also kicking off a HUGE blog tour, thanks to Hook of a Book Media. Click on the graphic below to see all the stops. Special thanks to Tim Busbey for his graphics expertise. I’ll be giving away lots o books along the way!
Okay, another round of shoveling, another couple of Motrin. You will not defeat me, Father Winter!
I am comforted thinking about the release of my new novella, The Waiting, in just two months. In just 8 weeks, the snow will be history and I’ll be back in shorts and sleeveless shirts (ala Larry the Cable Guy, my fashion guru). With The Waiting, I’m diving right back into the world of ghosts, but with a twist. This time around the story is real. And it’s not one I got from secondhand accounts. This is the kind of stuff that turns people into insomniacs or ‘day sleepers’.
Let me take things on step further. Here’s a sneak preview from chapter 13. You can pre-order a copy (it’ll be out as an e-book only) at Samhain, Amazon and B&N. Now turn off your EMF meter, bathe yourself in a protective circle of light and read on….
Alice worried constantly about her daughter, but it wasn’t until recently that she considered there might come a day when she would lose her. When she had first arrived at the house, she could feel the hope that crackled in the air. Like all energy, it had come and gone, morphing into something new, in someplace new.
Now the house felt cold and expectant. Her negative thoughts weren’t helping the situation. All of Cassie’s pain and their worry were building a cocoon of despair. Somehow, they had to find a way to break free of it.
Well, today she would try her best to dispel the negativity. Cassie was going to come out of it. Things always get worse before they get better. She knew Brian never left the house without making sure all of Cassie’s machines were pumping and draining away. That meant there was time for a shower before heading downstairs. Better to start clean and new.
When she was done, she wrapped a towel around her hair, put on a nice shirt and jeans and walked down the noisy stairs.
“Good boy,” she said when she saw the half-full coffee pot on the warmer. He made it a little weak for her taste, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Alice had bought a handful of gossip magazines at the bookstore. She wanted to make today a silly girl day, even if Cassandra couldn’t laugh or groan along with her. Then maybe she’d take a cue from Brian and pop in a movie and watch it with her.
As she walked out of the kitchen, she said, “Cassie, honey, you’re never going to believe who Brad Pitt is fooling around with.”
The mug slipped from her hand, bathing the floor and her feet with piping hot coffee. If there was pain, her mind was too stunned to register it.
A small boy sat at the end of Cassandra’s bed. One knee was bent and most of that leg was on the comforter. The other was locked straight, his foot flat on the floor. He looked at Cassie with beautiful, shining eyes and a round face with skin as flawless and smooth as fresh cream.
He didn’t look away, despite the crashing of the coffee mug and her sharp gasp of surprise.
The sun filtered through the window. It bathed him in a diffusion of soft, yellow light.
Alice’s heart raced and her hands began to tremble. She found it hard to keep her grip on the tabloids.
The boy moved with surprising grace, shifting off the bed and seeming to glide to the head of Cassandra’s bed. He bent forward, and Alice lost sight of him for a moment. When he straightened, he smiled, then reached out to the control panel of the infusion pump.
Part of her wanted to yell at him not to touch it. If she thought a real, living boy was in the room with her daughter, she would have.
But she knew what she was seeing was not an actual boy.
The certainty of what she beheld kept her mouth from opening and her legs from propelling her into the room.
She watched him turn his back and walk around the bed until he left the view within the doorframe. She was struck by how quiet the house was. The boy’s footsteps didn’t elicit a single tick from the cranky wood floor.
When he was gone, the infusion pump started to howl. It broke her trance and she walked over shards of ceramic, leaving coffee and crimson-colored footprints in her wake. She was not surprised to see that the boy had disappeared.
She was concerned about the warning chime on the pump. When she looked down, the floor by the bed was covered in a foul-smelling miasma of blood and clots of infected tissue. The drain tube in Cassandra’s stomach had slipped out. Her digestive acids must have flared up, spewing rot and gore from the open wound the surgeon had left until it spilled onto the floor.
The smell was overpowering. She clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from vomiting.
What do I do?
It looks like a lot of potential inmates are hooked on Asylum Scrawls, my first short story collection packed with 6 original stories and a bonus story by Norm Hendricks. It was truly a labor of sick, sick love.
The feedback on one of my stories, Stoned, has been tremendous. Author Russell James said, “Stoned is one of the best bits of horror I’ve read in a while.” I promise, I didn’t pay Russ a dime for that.
As my way to give thanks (see how I tied that in to the upcomnig holiday? Nifty), I thought I’d give you a preview of Stoned. If you’re hooked, come on over to Amazon and take Asylum Scrawls home for only $1.99. As Alfred E. Neuman would say, “Still cheap!”
OK, take a hit of thorazine, slip on that straightjacket and close your eyes as you travel to rural South Carolina. The sun is high in the summer sky, and the pummel stone sits waiting for today’s lesson….
The smooth surface of the Pummel Stone was ice cold against Kitty’s bare breasts and stomach, and despite the burning slash of the belt on her back and the fevered friction of Ed’s fingers as they worked in and out of her pussy like a trio of funny car pistons, it felt somewhat soothing out here in the blazing South Carolina sun.
God she hated South Carolina. She’d made it out once, all the way to Wyoming. Now there was a place where you didn’t feel like dying come summer, where the heat of the day didn’t hit you like a wet towel fresh from a pot of boiling water. If there was one thing she hated, it was the damn heat and humidity of the deep and nasty south.
He hit her again with the belt. This time, she felt her skin split. When she tried to move away he dropped the belt and used his free hand to grip the back of her neck, pushing her face harder into the rock.
“Where do you think you’re goin’?” he hissed in her ear. His tongue was thick with cheap beer and his breath reeked of day old diapers. “That’s right, bitch. You ain’t leavin’ the Stone until I’m finished up in here.”
Ed’s favorite blasted from the speakers he’d had installed under their covered patio: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Wagner. Lord in heaven did she hate that song. Ed had gotten hooked on Wagner after watching Apocalypse Now one too many times, what with the helicopters and all the bombing and that horrid music blaring in the background. He went out to the music store one day and shuffled through the Nice Price CD box until he found a copy of selected works by Richard Crazy Ass Wagner. There wasn’t much call for regular priced classical CDs in these parts. Kitty thought if the dead composer could see what his music had inspired, he’d approve. All men were bastards that way. Goddamn heathens.
“Hidey-ho, in we go!” Ed shouted, and before she knew it, he was full up inside her, well, at least as far as his needle dick could go. Amazing how much damage that little pecker could do when she wasn’t properly greased. He grunted and rutted like a sick hog. She hitched slightly when his sweat splashed into the wounds on her back.
Thankfully, it was over almost as soon as it had started. He pulled out and away from her in one staggering motion. She slumped down to the base of the stone, resting her cheek against it, willing her tears away.
“Hey, you want me to help you inside?” He was a different person now, all that beastly rage seeping out of him with his semen and into her. He sounded apologetic, which meant she must be bleeding a lot. Ed always got that way when the blood was bad.
“Just…go…away,” she said without opening her eyes. She didn’t want to see his face or his limp dick crawling back into its shell or the belt on the floor or her torn clothes thrown in a pile by the back door. Because Ed killed her baby once upon a fucked up time and she knew for sure he didn’t have the guts to kill her. The only constant in her life was the Pummel Stone and no matter how far she ran or who she ran to, it would always be there, waiting for her.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Okay, it had always been like this, at least as far as she could remember, and probably always would. But damn, Kitty was for-shit-sure that if her ma hadn’t hanged herself from the tree that used to be in the front of the house, that was before her daddy tore the whole thing up, roots and all a week after the funeral, things would have been different. Momma was her protector, and Lord knows she needed protectin’. Her daddy was a ruthless old bastard, penniless, godless and brainless. One of her first memories was seeing him whup on her momma against The Stone. He was hollering at her something fierce and whacking at her with his boot, but ma didn’t make a sound. She took it like the man he could never be and that just made him crazier.
Well, after ma died the old man gave The Stone a rest. It was just the two of them now and little Kitty at age seven had to quit school and take care of him and the house. One day the vice principal came to the house to insist Daddy put her back in school. He didn’t even have two sentences out before he was face to face with the wrong end of a shotgun and tearing ass back to his car.
Life sucked worse than a piglet on a teat, but it was about to get worse. When she turned twelve, a timer went off Daddy’s twisted head, like one of those little plastic poppers they put in chickens to tell you when they’re done roasting. Now it was her turn to lay against the Pummel Stone and get her deservins. No infraction was too small for The Stone. That big piece of rock that jutted up in their yard, slate gray and ugly as sin, so damn big they couldn’t even dynamite the thing out, it was kind of the family heirloom. The farm had been in their family for three generations and The Stone right along with it. Turned out, punishing the family for their sins, be they real or imagined, was also a family tradition. Her daddy had told her once that his granddaddy had named it the Pummel Stone, on account of anyone put face to face with the rock was about to get a pummelin’. Except if you were a girl you’d get that and more and Daddy carried that torch with flying colors.
Kitty endured her father’s cruelty until she was eighteen, always staying as quiet as her ma because she knew it drove him crazy. She hoped the bastard would have a stroke but of course he never did. When she turned eighteen she stole out of the house one night and took a bus to Florida.
She spent the next seven years traveling all over from one crappy job and run-down town to another, leaving in her wake a string of ex-boyfriends as useless and mean as the old man. When a girlfriend once asked, “How do these men find you?” after her latest broke her nose, she realized, They ain’t finding me. I’m finding them.
Things changed when she met Ed Blake. He was fresh from the Army and as good looking as a movie star. They met in Troutville, Virginia when she was waiting tables at a truck stop diner. He was smart and sweet and romantic and before she knew it they were happily married and living like a couple of lovebirds.
Then word came from her Aunt Mary that Daddy was dying. Kitty would have been happy to let him die alone but Ed said it was important for her to be there, no matter how bad a man he may have been in the past. That was Ed back then, kinder than a saint and a sight better looking to boot. So off they went to South Carolina, back to the farm and the round patch of brown grass in the front yard where the big dogwood tree used to be.
Daddy was real bad with cancer. She was torn between wanting to hold in her piss and save it for his grave or washing his withered face with a soothing, damp cloth, telling him everything would be all right. It took him a month to die and in that time he responded mostly to Ed. She spied them several times, Ed’s ear close to her daddy’s lips, his words too feeble to carry into the hallway.
Well, the old monster finally died and Kitty surprised herself by crying at the funeral. The house was left to her and Ed insisted they stay. A whole farm, even though it hadn’t produced anything in years, was better than a one-bedroom apartment in Troutville. So they stayed.
And wouldn’t you know it, a year to the day later she found herself back on The Pummel Stone. Ed had taken to drinking on account of not being able to find work. Men were like that. The moment they felt emasculated, in came the booze. One day, decided to give her a spanking against The Stone because she burned their supper. Things progressed, or in this case, regressed, and she wondered just what the hell her father had been feeding Ed while he lay there dying. But then she realized it probably had nothing to do with him.
It was the Stone. It possessed every man who lived by it and damned every woman unlucky enough to be with the abuse-loving fucktard.
Find out what happens to poor, hapless Kitty, as well as the fate of a recent amputee being plagued by his old toys, two couples faced with a ghost that will not leave or speak and six young boys stuck between a sewer creature and the Son of Sam at Asylum Scrawls, only available on Amazon.
Just in time for the Halloween season, my first short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, has been set loose on an unsuspecting world. To kick things off, I’m running a special from now until Halloween. You can get a copy of Asylum Scrawls for only 99 cents. After the ghosts and goblins have their fill of candy and egging houses, the price goes to $1.99 (still a bargain if you ask me). With fantastic cover art by Mike Chella and a creepy bonus story by my mentor, Norm Hendricks, it’s sure to make you question what’s real and what’s not.
As an added bonus, if you download a copy before Halloween and let me know through this old blog and chain, the FB fan page or Twitter, you’re also eligible to win a copy of any of my novels. You can’t beat that with a stick, or chainsaw, or hot poker, or machete. I’ll be giving away books all through the Horrortober season. That’s right, all treats, no tricks.
So, what’s cooking in the asylum?
- In PHANTOM FEELING, meet Hank, a recent amputee living in his parents’ attic. His childhood toys are coming out to spell secret messages to him – or is he losing his grip on his sanity?
- THE FACELESS GIRL follows two couples at a famous movie star’s mountain mansion. The master bedroom holds a terrifying secret – an apparition that will not leave.
- The last place you want to be is strapped to the pummel stone in STONED. Poor Kitty’s wasted her life on the stone, but things are about to take an unexpected and deadly turn.
- What happens when your religious zealot wife tells you about her special COMMANDMENT ELEVEN? You watch your life fall to pieces, bit by agonizing bit.
- Ready for a true gothic nightmare? MERCY starts with a demonic possession and only gets worse in the old manse beset by evil.
- FOUL BALL is a throwback to the 70’s during the Summer of Sam in New York. When a Wiffle ball rolls down the sewer, 6 boys devise a plan to save it from the muck and slime. Some things are better off lost
- In a special bonus story by Norm Hendricks, a child killer confined to a prison cell waits for the call of the PIPER. Truly haunting.
Help me get this bad boy to number one! To order your copy from Amazon, click here.
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.
Today marks the start of something new for me. Every couple of months, I’m going to post a hodge-podge of places to go and people to see on the internet, all of them horror and paranormal related. These are the locations, people and achievements that have captured my imagination and gratitude. They are wellsprings of inspiration, information, entertainment and mental edification. Find something that interests you and give them a lookey-loo…
Congratulations goes out to Robert Rumery on the publication of his first comic, The Grove, from WhatTheFlux Comics. If you know me, you know I’m a horror comic junkie. Nice job, Robert. I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it.
Looking for great horror books at steep discounts…or even free? Author, editor and all around cool dude in a loose mood, Brian James Freeman has started eHorror Bargains, your one-stop-shop for the best in horror. All of your horror deals are right here. Stop by and load up your e-reader!
Book Reviews. I have 2 places where you can go to get tons of book reviews (and if you’re an author, query them to have your book spotlighted). The first is Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK. Super reviewer Erin covers multiple genres as well as author interviews. She is the hardest working book reviewer out there today and a lot of writerly types owe her our gratitude.
Another mega-review site is Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews. Matt and his team do an excellent job of reviewing not only new horror works, but classics and older hidden gems. If you need to stock up your horror library, this is the place to go. Then head to eHorror Bargains and see if you can get some of them without busting your budget.
Bigfoot. You know I can’t help myself from throwing something about the hairy fella in here. Huge thanks to Scott Albright who brought this post to my attention (actually, it’s as large as a novella) about Bigfoot and why no one has found their bones or bodies. Author Robert Lindsay did some yeoman’s work putting this together. Must read for all you squatchers!
Ghosts & The Supernatural. The definitive place to get everything you need about the world of the paranormal is Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village. This is the Bible for everyone interested in what lies beyond the veil. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletter.
Books. I’m super excited that my book release partner on April 2nd is the uber-talented Jonathan Janz. His new book, The Darkest Lullaby, comes out the same day as my Sinister Entity. Here’s a link to a review of his book. He has one of the coolest cover in the Samhain library.
Podcasts. My newest podcast addiciotn is Darkness Radio, a radio show broadcast out of the Twin Cities. You can listen to their archives online or through iTunes. These guys have a damn good time talking about the world of the strange and the unexplained. Love their take on things.
OK, that about does it for this month. I hope you stop by some or all of these great places and supoprt them. If there are hot spots you think I should know about, send them to me and I’ll include them in future posts.