Jack and I at Monster Men Central are putting a viewer mail show together that should air next week. Soooo, what I need from you, my hellions, are questions that we can answer on air (and mention your name). They could be about anything – movies, books, writing, body surfing, collecting Smurf figures, you name it. Make your voice heard on Monster Men! Send me your questions here in the comments section, email at email@example.com or on Twitter with the hashtag #MonsterTime
Okay gals and ghouls, let ‘er rip!
You all may have heard of Adam Howe. He’s the dude who won Stephen King’s On Writing contest. Not only is he one hell of a writer (approved by the Pope of Terror himself), he’s also screamingly funny. It’s an honor to have him on the blog and chain for you Hellions to enjoy!
Your latest book, Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, contains 3 novellas that got my motor humming the moment I read the synopsis. As a guy who wrote a novella about skunk apes, please tell me your inspiration for the tale, Damn Dirty Apes (and now I can’t get Charlton Heston’s voice out of my head).
I’d read about the ‘furry’ subculture – people cosplaying as animals – and the sub-subculture of ‘furry’ pornography. Who are we to judge, right?
So my starting point for Damn Dirty Apes was the image of a bunch of rednecks making a ‘furry’ fuck flick in the backwoods when the leading man, wearing a ‘provocative’ baboon costume, is abducted as a mate by a randy skunk ape.
An overused trope, I know, but I hoped I could breathe fresh life into it.
From there, I imagined a misfit posse – including a ‘heroic’ strip club bouncer in the Jack Burton mould, a wannabe porn starlet, the porn shoot’s director (also the town drunk), and a self-proclaimed skunk ape hunter – embarking on safari to rescue their friend from the beast.
I saw the piece as a redneck Jaws; the style would be somewhere between 80s action/adventure and Looney Tunes. I chose a skunk ape as my ‘monster,’ as opposed to the more familiar Bigfoot or Sasquatch, because it fit my Southern redneck locale, and I felt that skunk apes had been woefully underused in creature fiction. Of course, I was soon to discover why this is.
While researching skunk apes, I stumbled across an article in the Fortean Times relating to notorious hominologist, the late Gerard Hauser, author of the seminal work, ‘Among the Skunk Apes of the North American South: One Man’s Journey of Self-Discovery,’ and Hauser’s doomed final expedition in the Arkansan sticks, in which a amateur cryptozoologist lost his life when he stepped into a hominid snare. In Hauser, I’d discovered a real-life Captain Ahab on whom to base my skunk ape hunter character, Jameson T. Salisbury.
On completing the story, I thought it might make a refreshing change from the norm to request an endorsement from a more unusual source than a fellow author, and contacted Mr. Lambert Pogue, General Secretary for the Society of the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Unfortunately, Mr. Pogue failed to see the humour in the story, and objected to my fictional skunk ape hunter, Jameson T. Salisbury, whom he recognized as a caricature of his late friend and colleague, Gerard Hauser. Mr. Pogue proceeded to rally a small army of cryptozoologists in the Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Skunk Ape fields – typically sworn enemies, as you know – who besieged my publisher with angry calls for my head, and demanded the book be embargoed. Fortunately, I was able to placate Mr. Pogue with a groveling apology and a modest donation to the S.P.N.A.S.A. The embargo was lifted, and Mr. Pogue even kindly provided the somewhat terse disclaimer that opens the story, Damn Dirty Apes.
As the author of Swamp Monster Massacre, I imagine you’ve had your own dealings with Mr. Pogue and the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Of course, I’ll understand if you don’t wish to discuss such matters on a public forum, and risk reigniting hostilities with them. I only wish I’d known you before making my damn-fool approach to the S.P.N.A.S.A. You could have warned me to leave well enough alone! I would strongly advise other authors to carefully consider the repercussions before writing skunk ape literature. To paraphrase Pet Sematary, “Sometimes ‘squatch is better.”
I have to ask, as a winner of Stephen King’s On Writing contest, how did it feel to get the gold ring? And since then, have you had any communication with our Overlord and Master?
I’ll give your American readers some background on this. To promote the release of On Writing, King’s UK publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, and The Guardian newspaper, ran a short story contest that was open to entrants worldwide, with the exception of the States. (I don’t know why you guys were excluded.) The brief was to write a ‘Stephen King-style’ short story, with the winning story to be chosen by King, and published in the first-edition paperback of On Writing. (The story has since been republished in the Kindle version.) The winner would also be granted an audience with The King. Not too shabby, right?
Now, this was way back around 2000, a rocky period in my life. I’d recently dropped out of university, my girlfriend had dumped me, I was out of work, and living back home with my folks – not a happy guy. I was seriously doubting my abilities as a writer, and for the first time, considered quitting.
Then I won the contest.
Like so many other genre writers, King’s voice was the first I really connected with, so for this Constant Reader, having my work validated by King – not to mention being published in his book, meeting the man – was beyond a dream come true; for me, it didn’t get any bigger or better. For the rest of my writing career, I might achieve more, but I’ll be hard pressed to top that moment, and the elation (and relief) I felt.
Of course, I was young and dumb enough to believe I’d ‘arrived.’ Which wasn’t the case. It was many years before I was published again. But I’ve never thought about quitting again, no matter how times I’ve been kicked in the heart by this writing lark. Looking back, I think ‘someone’ was looking out for me; that I won the contest just to keep me in The Game; a guardian angel who knew that, one day, I would reward the world with a skunk ape noir novella. You’re welcome.
I haven’t seen or spoken to King since. When I met him, he did give me his contact details, but can you believe it, I lost ‘em! Probably just as well. Within a few years of getting my ‘break,’ I developed a drinking problem that quickly spiraled down into full-blown alcoholism. Chances are I’d have embarrassed myself by writing a heartfelt ‘Dear Steve’ letter. I’m happy to say I’ve got my shit together now. It’d be great to speak to him again, if only to let him know he picked a good horse, and that I’m doing OK.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb assuming you’re a B-movie fan. What are some of your favorites? And what movie script do you wish you’d written?
I’m a film fiend in general, but yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for late 20th century B-movies. Not that cynical Sharknado shit churned out today by the likes of SyFy and the Asylum. My go-to periods are 70s crime, 80s action, 70s/80s horror. I like to think I write B-movie plots with A-list intentions. Steven Spielberg once said, after making Duel and Jaws, he was worried about being typed as a director of “truck and shark” pictures. I’d be happy to be typed as a “truck and shark” writer. (I’ve yet to write my truck and shark books; maybe I’ll just combine the two, SHARK TRUCKER, write it on a cocktail napkin and sell it to SyFy.)
It’s hard to pick a favourite screenplay. Screenplays are an ever-evolving medium, and the text rarely matches what makes it to the screen. As much as Jaws is one of my favourite films, for instance, it ain’t my favourite script. In my early teens, I reviewed scripts for a UK-based mail order company supplying produced screenplays to colleges, writers, film geeks and the like. The first screenwriter I really connected with was Shane Black, who penned Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and a whole other bunch of B-classics. He’s one of the rare few screenwriters whose text often DOES make it intact to the screen. Black remains a big influence on my style. I also dig David Webb Peoples’s work, especially Unforgiven. If you can find it, you should check out his 1987 draft for the unproduced Sgt. Rock movie that Joel Silver had lined up for Schwarzenegger. Would’ve made a helluva movie.
It’d be cool to be able to say, “I wrote Roadhouse.” You could carve the line “A polar bear fell on me” on my headstone.
Say you were banned from writing horror. What genre would you hop over to and why? And remember, Bigfoot erotica is on the table.
Who’s to say I don’t already write Bigfoot erotica under a pseudonym? Clearly you’ve never read my 50 Shades of ‘Squatch series? If I was banned from writing horror – and it’s definitely possible, the horror community seems unusually prickly and conformist right now – I guess I’d just sidestep into crime. A life of crime, I mean; pays better than writing. I don’t consider myself strictly a horror writer. Or even a crime writer, for that matter. The writer whose philosophy I most admire is the Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale. Joe resists genre labels and categorizes himself as a writer of ‘Lansdale’ fiction. That’s my aim: To write my own stuff and be my own man, and hope that readers join me on the ride.
As you were working to get the ol’ writing career started, what’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d ignored?
I never had a mentor, so any writing advice came from reading interviews with writers I admired, and of course, On Writing, which is the writers’ bible.
After winning the contest, I landed an agent and embarked on a ‘career’ as a screenwriter, with so-so success – I had a few original features optioned, scraped a few bucks rewriting/doctoring/butchering other writers’ work, but nothing I wrote ever made it to the screen. The agent was forever pushing me to follow market trends, which is impossible; by the time you’ve written to trend, the market’s moved on. As the screenwriter William Goldman said, “Nobody knows anything.”
When I met Stephen King, and told him I planned to be a screenwriter, he made a jack-off gesture, and advised me to “write a fucking novel.” That was advice I should have taken. I’m still yet to write my fucking novel – I really dig the novella format – but I’m working on it.
What’s coming up next and what is the best way for folks to follow you and your wild imagination?
I’m putting the finishing touches to Tijuana Donkey Showdown, the sequel to Damn Dirty Apes, which continues the misadventures (prolongs the misery) of my boxer turned bouncer and hapless hero, Reggie Levine. No skunk apes in this one – lesson learned, I’m not fucking with the S.P.N.A.S.A. again – although (spoiler alert!) the chupacabra makes an appearance, as does Nicolas Cage, in an explosive cameo.
I’m also collaborating on a horror/crime project with Adam Cesare, which we’re pitching as Michael Mann’s Public Enemies meets John Carpenter’s The Thing. Hopefully we can have that one ready to rock early next year.
Beyond that, my partner and I are expecting our first child in July so I’ll be off the grid for a while. Assuming I survive the experience, and don’t reinvent myself as a children’s author, I’ll be back in ’17 with some new twisted shit.
Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #DieDogorEattheHatchet #DieDog #AdamHowe #OnWriting #HookofaBook
Tune into all the stops on the tour at the publicity page: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/die-dog-or-eat-the-hatchetadam-howe-publicity-page/
Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Synopsis
- Publication Date: Nov. 2, 2015
- Publisher: Comet Press
- Publication Length: 250 pages
From Adam Howe, winner of Stephen King’s “On Writing” short story contest, comes three original novellas of hardboiled crime, graphic horror and pitch-black gallows humor.
DAMN DIRTY APES
Washed-up prizefighter Reggie Levine is eking a living as a strip club bouncer when he’s offered an unlikely shot at redemption. The Bigelow Skunk Ape – a mythical creature said to haunt the local woods – has kidnapped the high school football mascot, Boogaloo Baboon. Now it’s up to Reggie to lead a misfit posse including a plucky stripper, the town drunk, and legend-in-his-own-mind skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury. Their mission: Slay the beast and rescue their friend. But not everything is as it seems, and as our heroes venture deeper into the heart of darkness, they will discover worse things waiting in the woods than just the Bigelow Skunk Ape. The story the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape tried to ban; Damn Dirty Apes mixes Roadhouse with Jaws with Sons of Anarchy, to create a rollicking romp of 80s-style action/adventure, creature horror and pitch-black comedy.
DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET
Escaped mental patient Terrence Hingle, the butcher of five sorority sisters at the Kappa Pi Massacre, kidnaps timid diner waitress Tilly Mulvehill and bolts for the border. Forcing his hostage to drive him out of town, it’s just a question of time before Tilly becomes the next victim in Hingle’s latest killing spree. But when they stop for gas at a rural filling station operated by deranged twin brothers, Dwayne and Dwight Ritter, the tables are turned on Hingle, and for Tilly the night becomes a hellish cat-and-mouse ordeal of terror and depravity. The meat in a maniac sandwich, Tilly is forced against her nature to make a stand and fight for survival. Because sometimes the only choice you have is to do or die…to Die Dog Or Eat The Hatchet.
Prohibition-era 1930s… After an affair with the wrong man’s wife, seedy piano player Smitty Three Fingers flees the city and finds himself tinkling the ivories at a Louisiana honky-tonk owned by vicious bootlegger Horace Croker and his trophy wife, Grace. Folks come to The Grinnin’ Gator for the liquor and burlesque girls, but they keep coming back for Big George, the giant alligator Croker keeps in the pond out back. Croker is rumored to have fed ex-wives and enemies to his pet, so when Smitty and Grace embark on a torrid affair…what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by true events, Gator Bait mixes hardboiled crime (James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice) with creature horror (Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive) to create a riveting tale of suspense.
Listen to this sample reading from the book over at YouTube from the folks at Manor House:
Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey Showdown, One Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.
Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.
Praise for Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet
“It’s an explicit, hard-hitting, twisted funhouse ride into pulpish horror wrapped loosely in a tattered skein of irreverent, jet black humor. In short, it’s a freakin’ blast.” –Walt Hicks, author of Dirge of the Forgotten
“With Die Dog Or Eat the Hatchet, Adam Howe hasn’t written one of my favorite books of the year, he’s actually written three of my favorites. Stories that are tight, toned, and genre-confounding. Horror fans and crime fans are going to come to blows over who gets to claim Howe as one of their own, but they’re both going to be wrong because Howe’s his own thing.” – Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Mercy House
“The recipe for Adam Howe’s DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET is: Two parts Joe Lansdale, One part Justified, and a heavy dose of WTF. The result is a swampy cocktail darker than any backwoods hayride, stronger than the meanest Sasquatch, and crazier than anything you’ll find chicken-fried at your local state fair.”—Eryk Pruitt, author of Hashtag and Dirtbags
“Adam Howe proves with the three stories in this book that he can basically write anything. And write it very well indeed. To summarise: A three novella collection that you absolutely must have in your collection. I give this one the highest possible recommendation that I can.” -Nev, Confessions of a Reviewer
“Adam Howe’s “Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet,” is equal parts terror and fun, his dark comedic voice dances through each of the works in this collection to create engaging stories filled with bars, dames, rabid dogs, and an ape with one hell of a right hook.”(Nathan Crazybear/Splatterpunk Zine)
“Once again this author has sucked me into the darkness of his stories and unleashed the twisted, disgusting and stomach churning madness that I come to expect. In fact, I would have been very disappointed if this book was not even more mind-blowing than Black Cat Mojo. And he did not disappoint. Hats off to Mr Howe for creating this magnificent novella of pure horror. I would definitely recommend this to readers of horror and make sure you buckle up as you will be in for the most twisted ride of your life!” -Crime Book Junkie
“I’m pretty certain that whatever genre you like to read, be it pulp, noir, horror, anything really, you will find something to enjoy here. It’s fast paced, action packed and brilliantly written. Comet Press has got a diamond on their hands! 5 stars” -Adrian Shotbolt
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Want to Feature Adam Howe?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Adam Howe, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just popping in for a quick howdy to my Hellions on this fine Cinco de Mayo. Tequila is your friend today.
I wanted to make you aware of two very cool specials that are available now. First up, THEY RISE has been discounted to 99cents on Amazon. Just a couple of days ago, it was the #1 horror book on Amazon as well as #1 in the Sea Stories category. Unfortunately, we couldn’t crack the cryptid erotica category. And if there is no such category, there needs to be. Click the cover below to snag a copy on the cheap!
Also, to get you all worked up into a lather over my upcoming monster book, THE JERSEY DEVIL, I’m giving away 5 signed paperback copies of my best selling THE MONTAUK MONSTER every month on Goodreads between now and August. If you’re on GR, enter the giveaway for your chance to win one. Take it to the beach and be very, very afraid!
As a lover of all things cryptid, I’m naturally fascinated by the strange and mysterious Chupacabra. Is it an unknown animal, alien, government experiment gone wrong?
Well, to help us all out, I’ve turned to one of my buds, Raegan Butcher, who has just written an excellent monster novel, FURY OF THE CHUPACABRAS. To write the book, he dove into the deep end of the chupacabra pool.I can’t think of anyone better to teach us a thing or two about the dreaded goat sucker! So lock your doors and windows, settle in to a comfy chair and read on if you dare…
What is it?
The name, coined by Puerto Rican comedian Silverio Perez, means “goatsucker” in Spanish, and comes from the animal’s reported habit of drinking the blood of livestock—especially goats. The first reports of this mysterious creature came from Puerto Rico in 1995 when eight sheep were discovered dead, with three puncture wounds in the chest, and completely drained of blood. At first, a Satanic cult was suspected, but soon the first eyewitness reports appeared, which described a creature – some sort of lizard-like beast, about the size of a small bear, with sharp, glowing quills on its back and large, round eyes. The beast was said to be able to hop like a kangaroo, suck blood like a bat, and was reported to emit a strange, piercing cry.
As a youngster growing up in the 1970s, I was enthralled by the numerous Bigfoot sightings that occurred in my home state of Washington and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. The idea that some unknown animal could be lurking on the edge of civilization tickled my imagination in all the right ways. Because of my love of horror and sci fi, I have always been fascinated by monsters, and the chupacabra sounded right up my alley. Doing a bit of research, I discovered some cases from the past that were eerily similar to the infamous goatsucker.
In New Orleans there is a popular lover’s lane known as “Grunch Road”, named as such after several reports of a lizard-like beast haunting the vicinity and frightening horny teenagers appeared in the local press in the 1940s and ‘50s. And then there is a case which sounds almost exactly like a chupacabra: the dreaded “Vampire of Moca”. This unknown fiend kicked off its killing spree in February 1975, in Barrio Rocha, a sector of the town of Moca, in Puerto Rico, where it took the lives of a number of animals in a grisly manner never seen before. Fifteen cows, three goats, two geese and a pig were found dead with bizarre perforations on their hides. Autopsies showed that the animals had been bled dry, as if consumed by some predator. After six months, and the deaths of over 150 farm animals, the mysterious “Vampire of Moca” vanished into history and obscurity.
Or did it?
Almost exactly twenty years later, the chupacabra appeared, and the Puerto Rican press once again began to report sightings of a strange beast that preyed upon livestock. Some people on the island believe that chupacabras are a genetic bio-experiment which escaped from a secret laboratory (The US military has had a large presence across Puerto Rico since the 1930’s, with bases on the island used as Research and Development facilities for a number of classified projects). Others speculate that the creature is an escaped pet of alien visitors that wandered off while its master was visiting Earth. How’s that for a far-out theory? The chupacabra does have a slight resemblance to the Grey aliens, which could mean that they are somehow genetically related, a wonderfully tantalizing theory.
For reasons too complicated to explain here (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21972578-stone-hotel ) I ended up in prison from June 1996 to March 2003 for armed robbery (yeah, I was a crazy sumbitch, back then). As you might imagine, I had a lot of time on my hands. I was already a writer when I went down, so I tried to use my excess of time wisely and write as much as I could during those seven years. I’d always wanted to write something about the chupacabra, as they seemed heaven sent, as far as “rule of cool” goes: some kind of lizard monster that drinks blood? As a creature-feature fan from earliest childhood, I was all over it.
But I couldn’t get a handle on how to shape the story. At first I thought of that great old British sci-fi movie Island Of Terror, and I remembered the first scene with the constable finding a body with its bones sucked out. Maybe I could set my chupacabra story on a small island off the coast of Mexico…first scene would be some guy finding his livestock drained of blood…and we go from there? Hmmm. I put the idea in the back of my mind and went on with my life, such as it was.
Years passed. Then, one day in 2002, while I was walking the yard with another inmate (who, for legal reasons, shall remain nameless) it all clicked into place. This nameless inmate was telling me a story of almost getting busted at the Mexican border with a car full of illegal weapons and the anecdote was told with such flair that I immediately saw it as a scene in my chupacabra book. Two brothers, Americans, one of them an ex-soldier (as was the nameless inmate) smuggling guns into Mexico, and they get attacked by chupacabras. Story starts out with the tense scene at the border and we go from there. I wrote it as a screenplay first and, like I always do, I finished it, put it away, forgot about it, and moved on to the next thing.
Flash forward ten years. I was now a free man, with a few poetry books under my belt, (http://www.amazon.com/Raegan-Butcher/e/B00BO6QI3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1) and I wanted to work on my prose skills. I rummaged around in my papers and found the chupacabra script. I had such fun turning it into the novella Attack of the Chupacabras (included in the book Fury of the Chupacabras) http://necropublications.com/collections/raegan-butcher/products/fury-of-the-chupacabras-by-raegan-butcher-trade-paperback that I ended up writing four novels and creating a whole series, which I’ve dubbed the Chupacabra Chronicles. The books started out as simple survival-horror situations but they quickly became a series of action-conspiracy-monster-mystery-adventure-sci-fi-horror books. The Chupacabra Chronicles were written purely for fun. My goal was to keep the reader turning the pages, surprise them, make them gasp; keep them entertained by the developing story. I tried to fill the series with everything I like: action, tension, suspense, dark humor, and all of the most outlandish sci fi and conspiracy tropes I could come up with during my many hours of research on the internet.
I am grateful that Necro is crazy enough to publish these chupacabra books, one volume in the continuing saga of the chupacabra chronicles every six months for the next two years, with perhaps more after that. I had an absolute blast writing them. Now the pleasure is all yours. Have fun.
It’s no secret that one of my favorite horror writers is Catherine Cavendish. I’m very happy to not only announce that she has a new book, but a fantastic blog post to go with it. OK Hellions, show your support – read the article and buy the book! Keep horror alive (or at the very least, undead)!
My new novel – The Devil’s Serenade – mostly takes place in an imposing Gothic style mansion built by Victorian industrialist Nathaniel Hargest. When Maddie Chambers inherits it from her Aunt Charlotte, she soon discovers she has acquired far more than mere bricks and mortar. From the strange appearance of tree roots growing in the cellar to the manifestations, noises and a nostalgic wartime song played again and again, Maddie’s fears grow and intensify. What is going on here – and who, or what, is seemingly hell-bent on driving her insane?
Of course, my novel is just that – fiction. But, in real life, there have been numerous reports of houses cursed or possessed by demons. Sometimes these emanate from the ground on which the house was built. Other times, the builder of the house has somehow managed to impart his – or her – evil into the fabric of the place so that it becomes irrevocably woven into the walls.
Appearances can certainly be deceptive too. Take Renvyle House Hotel, situated in the glorious wilderness of Connemara in Ireland. The surrounding scenery is stunning and yet, amid all this beauty, lie tales of ghouls, ghosts and such an array of phenomena that this has to be one of the most haunted areas of Ireland.
In 1883, a family by the name of Blake first opened Renvyle as a country house. Many famous people stayed there – Winston Churchill being just one. Then, in 1917, a Dublin surgeon and poet, Dr. Oliver St John Gogarty – bought the house.
By this time, the house was gaining something of a reputation for the mysterious hauntings experienced by guests and servants alike. In particular, one of the upstairs rooms proved especially troublesome and servants refused to stay in there. They reported a dark and disturbing presence and, on one occasion, something pushed a large, heavy chest against the door.
Gogarty himself wasn’t immune. Late one night, the sound of footsteps outside his room woke him up. He lit a candle, opened the door and stepped out into the dark corridor. Suddenly, with no apparent breeze to cause it, the flame was extinguished. At the same time, a wave of exhaustion spread over Gogarty. His arms and legs felt heavy, as if he had been exercising hard. He was never able to explain this.
The Irish poet, W.B. Yeats stayed there with his wife, a renowned medium called Georgie. The three of them decided to hold a seance during which Georgie Yeats used automatic writing to attempt to communicate with any spirits present in the house. Their efforts met with success and a spirit pronounced itself unhappy with having people stay at the house. Georgie Yeats asked the spirit to reveal itself and she described what she saw. Over by the fireplace, in a misty vapour, stood a red-haired boy, according to the medium. He was pale and wore an anguished expression.
W.B. Yeats reported more unusual and inexplicable occurrences during his time at Renvyle. He said he saw sheets being pulled off beds by unseen hands. Other guests were dragged from their slumbers. Doors opened by themselves and terrible groans echoed through the house. Female guests were terrified when they saw faces watching them as they undressed.
Renvyle House has seen its fair share of violence and turmoil and was destroyed by the IRA in the 1920s. It was then rebuilt and is now a four star luxury, family-run hotel. It has won awards and is noted for the high standards of its hospitality and cuisine. It appears though that the spirits have stayed fixed to the land and have transferred themselves into the current hotel. Guests still report their sheets being tugged and female guests have caught glimpses of a man’s face watching them in the mirror as they apply their make-up. Maybe this is the spirit of a man who allegedly took his own life by strangling himself with his own bare hands. Quite a feat in itself!
Whatever the cause of the phenomena, Renvyle House Hotel certainly seems to have absorbed more than merely the beauty of its surroundings. Beneath the surface, supernatural forces appear to continue their work…
Now, to give you a taste of The Devil’s Serenade, here’s the blurb:
Maddie had forgotten that cursed summer. Now she’s about to remember…
“Madeleine Chambers of Hargest House” has a certain grandeur to it. But as Maddie enters the Gothic mansion she inherited from her aunt, she wonders if its walls remember what she’s blocked out of the summer she turned sixteen.
She’s barely settled in before a series of bizarre events drive her to question her sanity. Aunt Charlotte’s favorite song shouldn’t echo down the halls. The roots of a faraway willow shouldn’t reach into the cellar. And there definitely shouldn’t be a child skipping from room to room.
As the barriers in her mind begin to crumble, Maddie recalls the long-ago summer she looked into the face of evil. Now, she faces something worse. The mansion’s long-dead builder, who has unfinished business—and a demon that hungers for her very soul.
Here’s an extract:
A large flashlight rested on the bottom stair and I switched it on, shining it into the dark corners. There wasn’t a lot to see. A few broken bits of furniture, old fashioned kitchen chairs, some of which looked vaguely familiar, jam jars, crates that may once have held bottles of beer.
The beam caught the clump of gnarled and twisted roots that intertwined with each other, like Medusa’s snakes. I edged closer to it, my heart thumping more than it should. It was only a tree, for heaven’s sake! The nearest one was probably the willow. Surely, that was too far away? I knew little about trees, but I was pretty certain their roots couldn’t extend that far.
I examined the growth from every angle in that silent cellar. The roots were definitely spreading along the floor and, judging by the thickness and appearance of them, had been there for many years. Gray, like thick woody tendrils, they reached around six feet along and possibly four feet across at their widest point. I bent down. Close up, the smell that arose from them was cloyingly sweet. Sickeningly so. I put one hand over my nose, rested the flashlight on the steps and reached out with the fingers of my free hand to touch the nearest root. It wriggled against my palm.
I cried out, staggered backward and fell against the stairs. The flashlight clattered to the floor and went out. Only the overhead bulb provided any light, and it didn’t reach this darkest corner. Something rustled. I struggled to my feet, grabbed the torch and ran up the stairs. I slammed the door shut and locked it, leaned against it and tried to slow down my breathing. A marathon runner couldn’t have panted more.
I tapped the flashlight and it flickered into life, seemingly none the worse for its accident. I switched it off and set it on the floor by the cellar door. Whoever came to fix those roots was going to need it.
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About the author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. Other titles include: The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine, Dark Avenging Angel, The Second Wife, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, Cold Revenge and In My Lady’s Chamber.
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