Sometimes, real life is far more frightening than fiction.
As a man who makes his bread and butter writing about cryptids gone wild, I don’t often get the chance to delve into the things that truly give me the willies. I’m talking about flesh and blood crazies. Like what’s going on right now in a quaint New Jersey suburb.
Back in the summer of 2015, a disturbing headline hit the news. A family (Derek and Maria Broaddus) had just moved into their million dollar home in Westfield, New Jersey. We’re talking dream house. Except the dream quickly degenerated into a nightmare. Not long after moving in, the family started finding cryptic and threatening notes from someone who called himself (or herself) The Watcher. Here’s an example of one of The Watcher’s letters :
“I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought me.”
The Watcher claimed to be part of a long line of Watchers, all of them keeping a close eye on the inhabitants of that particular house. In fact, today’s current Watcher is a self-proclaimed third generation stalker.
It got so strange, the family was forced to abandon their home. How could some strange notes make the Broadduses abandon their house within weeks? Consider if you found this in your home :
“Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will.”
“Will the young bloods play in the basement?
“Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom then I can plan better.”
This isn’t a questionable haunting like the Amityville Horror. The dread is real. To this day, no one knows who is leaving the notes. Theories range from someone in the neighborhood, possibly an older person judging by their handwriting. A disgruntled former potential buyer who lost their bid to the Broadduses. Or the Broaddus family themselves, looking to make a fast buck.I don’t know. To me, if you can afford a million dollar home, you’re not desperate for money.
Derek and Maria Broaddus tried to get permission to raze the beautiful house and construct a new one but was turned down. They are too afraid to live in it.
It’s been rented out since earlier this year, and new, even more sinister notes have turned up for the tenants. It seems that no matter who lives within the house’s walls, the terror will continue.
Somewhere out there, The Watcher keeps on watching.
A movie has been made very loosely based on this true to life horror called The Watcher. It’s on Netflix if you want to give it a…well, watch.
My take on things is presented in WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, available from Sinister Grin Press. Only in my version, the family can’t run from the house, nor can they hide.
I’m so excited to share this with all my Hellions. My first release of 2017, and premier book with Sinister Grin Press, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, is available today! I know many of you ordered the limited edition hardcover, which will be delivered in April. But if you can’t wait that long, you can now grab an ebook or trade paperback.
The early reviews have been fantastic.
“Had me conjuring the spirit of McDowell’s classic, The Elementals… until it curved and curved again. I liked everything about this novel from cover to close. With climbing suspense, gut-wrenching twists, and a high-octane finish, We Are Always Watching is horror at its finest. With much of the year still to go, Shea’s novel will nevertheless place him among the best of 2017.” — Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil and What Hides Within
“I’ve been a fan of Shea’s books for a short while now, but this one is easily his best. He digs a bit deeper here to generate some old-school chills. Hunter Shea is at the top of his game with this one.” — Michael Patrick Hicks, uber reviewer and author of Convergence and Emergence
I’m so happy to let the world know that I’ve joined the Sinister Grin Press family. My first novel with Sinister Grin,WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, will come out as a limited edition hardcover, followed by ebook and trade paperback in early, 2017. For those that remember, I started writing this book last fall for my editor Don D’Auria and Samhain. We all know how things went there. I couldn’t have found a better publisher to take on this unsettling mystery on a remote Pennsylvania farm.
Here’s the official press release. I’ll share cover art and more as we get closer to the big date.
Hunter Shea Signs Deal for First Hardcover Limited Edition with Sinister Grin Press
Austin, Texas—Sinister Grin Press is pleased to announce it will partner with acclaimed horror author Hunter Shea for his first limited edition hard cover collector novel, We are Always Watching. It is categorized as horror with elements of paranormal mystery. It should be available in January of 2017 through order on the Sinister Grin website. After the order period for the collector edition, it will also be available in paperback and e-book.
“I’m thrilled to find a new home at Sinister Grin Press, which has a stellar reputation for publishing top quality horror,” Shea said. “They have an amazing team who are true fans of the genre. I can’t wait to see the finished product for my first limited edition hardcover. That’s one to tick off the bucket list. Get ready for a whole new chapter!”
The team at Sinister Grin Press is looking forward to launching 2017 with We are Always Watching. “We are very excited to work with an author of his caliber as we are always striving to publish some of the best horror available in today’s market,” said Matt Worthington, co-owner and operating officer of Sinister Grin Press.
Shea is a best-selling author of 15 novels and novellas and a few short stories across multiple publishers. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world.
Sinister Grin Press continually works to give horror readers books that they can proudly spend their money on. It’s horror that’ll carve a smile on your face. To learn more about Sinister Grin Press, and to receive updates on books available or upcoming, please join us at sinistergrinpress.com or sign up for the newsletter.
And no, they are not inoculations to prevent you from getting the dreaded book worms. BookShots are, in fact, the brainchild of James Patterson, the man who sells more books than there are zombies playing Pokemon Go. They made their debut last month and are literally popping up everywhere.
BookShots are a very clever bit of marketing targeted to today’s dwindling attention spans. They are, in every sense of the word, novellas. You know, not quite a short story, not quite a novel. For authors who think in word counts, novellas tend to settle between the 25-50k word range. Novels, on the other hand, are typically 90k words or more. Novellas have been around forever and a day and night. What’s new with BookShots is the branding and availability.
They’re fast reads that pack a lot of punch in a little package. It’s usually hard to find novellas in print. They’ve become the darling of the ebook world. BookShots, on the other hand, are being published in print with wide, and I mean WIDE, distribution. They’re designed for readers on the go who want to be thrilled or romanced in one or two sittings. According to Publishers Weekly, in the first week of sales, BookShots sold over 30,000 copies. Not too shabby.
The first BookShots were written by James Patterson – CROSS KILL (an Alex Cross thriller) and ZOO 2. These will be followed up with many more by a host of different authors, all geared to get your pulse pounding. I just found out that there’s also a romance line called BookShots Flames. I happened to stumble upon a copy of The McCullagh Inn in Maine by Jen McLaughlin in a supermarket. Jen and I share an agent, so even though it’s a romance (woven within a suspense story), I had to pick it up and I’ll be damned if I didn’t read it in two sittings, just like Patterson promised. And I dug it. I also downloaded Zoo 2 on my Kindle, even though I never read Zoo or watched the TV show. I had to see what all the hubub was about. It was fast paced, campy fun. Those are two sweet spots for me.
I have to admit, I’m actually kind of excited about this. Anything that gets more people reading is a major win as far as I’m concerned. As an author, I prefer writing novellas. And I’m not alone. Most authors I talk to love novellas, both writing and reading them. There’s something about knowing there’s a limit but also having the space to explore characters deeper than you can in a short story or just go for broke and let the rollercoaster run free.
As a horror writer, I hope Patterson casts his gaze in the genre’s direction. Novellas have always been a huge part of horror. Even today there are great horror novellas being published weekly by the likes of Severed Press, Sinister Grin, Deadite and so many more. It would be nice to see them in print at the airport or supermarket or any bookstore you happen to find.Why do you think shows like Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside and other half hour bites of terror were so successful? Because horror is best when it’s short, twisted and terrifying.
BookShots in print are a little wider than a mass market paperback. Kind of like a classic Goosebumps book. They feel so good in your hands. It’s book crack at its best.
I’m keeping a watchful eye on BookShots. Could it be a game changer? We can only hope. The success of BookShots means more readers and more good paying opportunities for writers. Everybody’s happy, unless you’re Captain Beatty. (extra credit if you can name the book!)
And James Patterson, if you’re looking for a thriller writer who can send readers to dizzying heights within the warm confines of BookShots, give my agent a call. You already have her number.