I Have My Reservations

Under most circumstances when you hear someone say that, it doesn’t bode well for whatever is going on. I’m happy to report that is entirely not the case here.

I’ve been dreaming of these reservations for as long as I’ve been able to dream. As a small child I remember thumbing through two small photo albums showing images of missiles and sand dunes, of my brother squinting against the blinding sun, of my dad in uniform working on trucks and tanks as well as sitting on horseback – a temporary member of the U.S. Cavalry, so to speak when missiles went astray; of my mom so young and thin, holding little baby me on her lap. I heard stories of my brother, who would have been about three at the time, and his dreaded fear of the monsters known as tumbleweeds. There was a trip to Carlsbad Caverns and another into the mountains where Mom had a terrible time cooking at a much higher elevation than she was used to. The neighbors on Hawk Street were the Caverlys. Mrs. Caverly and my mom were both due around the same time. I was destined to be Penelope, but fate smiled upon me and Baby Caverly came along first and took the name out from under me. Darn! LOL.

The day I came along, Mom walked to the base hospital for her weekly appointment and was told she was in labor. Dad was notified and came in from the range. A few hours later, I came into the world.

And I don’t remember any of it.

All I have are the pictures to look at and the stories I’ve been told, and this deep, personal longing to ‘go home’ again. I’ve totally lost count of how many times I’ve said I’m going back. My parents can probably confirm that they have lost count too at how many times they’ve heard me say, “I want to go back to White Sands.”

It almost happened when I was around twelve or thirteen. Friends of my parents sold their house and moved to Las Cruces one summer. I don’t know what their motivation was, but the idea so appealed to my parents they put our house in Upstate NY up for sale with the intentions that if it sold, they too were going to head west. The house did not sell and as a result I grew up right in the same place and now live less than 40 miles from there.

2011 was a critical year. Life felt on hold. I didn’t feel like I had any goals and not much to look forward to. I was just getting out of a horrible 7-year relationship. My eldest child was out of college and working. My youngest was done with high school, also working, and living with her dad. I was free as a bird. It was Me Time! It was time to ask some questions of myself. When I was last this single, what was I doing that made me happy? How could I now, 20+ years later, recapture some of that joy? I needed a goal.

I came up with two answers. 1) All through high school I scrimped and saved nearly every dollar I could for a trip to England. At the time, I was totally obsessed with the place. I managed to save enough and the fall after I graduated, made the trip that lasted for 6 weeks of bliss on the British Isles. 2) A couple years later, I decided I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Two of my uncles had bikes and I’d never pass up the chance to go riding with them. It was time I stopped being the passenger and became the driver. And so, more money saving took place and I bought a 1985 Honda Rebel with cash without a clue how to drive the thing. Good times!

In 1988 I met the man who would become my husband and the father of our two previously mentioned kids. I’m not saying those days were bad. Not at all. I loved being a mom and raising a family and doing all that stuff, but at the same time, I slowly lost part of myself in the process. Everything was about the kids and the family and as much as I loved it and would not take a second of it back, there wasn’t much Me Time for the next 20 years.

I never lost sight of the trip out west though. I never forgot the little photo albums and the stories. The longing to ‘go home’ never left me. That was the answer to my question in 2011. I needed to plan that trip and I meant to take it before my 50th birthday come hell or high water. I still had a few years to save. This was going to be the most awesome trip of my life!

Then, Fate stepped in again and said, “Whoa! Not so fast there, Almost Penelope! You can’t do this alone! You need to meet someone first.” Lord knows, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. This was ME TIME! Last thing I wanted was some guy to cramp my style and stifle my dreams. Fate, that Crafty Wench, must have been bent over in hysterics for those first few days, knowing what was to come.

So, yeah, Mr. Biker from Texas who just happened to have lived in Las Cruces at WSMR on base not even a mile from where my family once lived, during his high school years turned out to be a pretty awesome guy, despite my early reservations. He’s done anything but cramp my style or stifle my dreams.

So, we have our room reservations booked now. I know I’m going to cry. I know Jim will probably laugh at me for crying, but I don’t care. Some men will just never understand the concept of “Happy Tears”. I think I need to recreate some of those images from the old family album, me sitting on a blanket on a wind-swept white sand dune, screaming my head off, for instance. I think I’ll pass on wearing the baby bonnet and little frilly dress though.

And yes, I’m still going to make it before my 50th birthday!

Links, And I’m Not Talking About Sausages Here.

The Story Link idea came about while I was working on “That’s What Shadows Are Made Of” and was considering the back story of one of my murder suspects. Where was the character from? What was the character’s secret? Why did the character act the way they did in certain situations?

At first the Story Link was very minor and just something I tossed in there for fun, but once I got thinking about it, I realized how cool an idea it really was. Why not link ALL the stories I had in mind together in this way? Maybe the link would be really obvious, as with the first two murder mysteries. They take place in the same area of New York State. They have some of the same characters. The Greenbrier Trilogy is, of course, the same way. It’s a trilogy. They are all meant to go together. Maybe the link would appear to be just a minor scene or bit of dialog within the grand scheme of things.

Then along came “No Rest For The Wicked”, my first novel length ghost story. It takes place over 300 miles from the fictional town of Barnesville. What could these two locations possibly have in common? I already had an answer, of course. And so it was that the Story Link formed between my murder mysteries, the paranormal writings and my older, previously published erotica series. In the meantime, other links are being brought together in stories I’ve written only a chapter or two of.

How will “Dark Hollow Road”, which takes place in Eastern Pennsylvania, be story linked to any of the others already mentioned? “Ghost Town” starts and ends in Texas and the characters are Texas natives. What on earth could they have to do with a bunch of New Englanders or Virginians? Then there’s “When The Darkness Presses” which features a bunch of kids growing up in the mid-1970’s who face the unsavory (and possibly deadly) consequences of meeting up with the infamous Hag. Where will any of them fit into a Story Link?

As it stands now, only two of my completed novels are without links to anything written before or after them. This could change. I don’t know how or when, but it could happen. Stories are like that. Characters like to suddenly pipe up, “Hey! What about me? When do I get my turn?!”

So, yeah, Story Links have become my little writing quirk. I don’t claim it to be an original idea, but I am hard pressed to come up with any author I’ve read a lot of who I’ve seen do it. On the outside, the novels may appear to have absolutely nothing to do with each other. On the inside, well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out, won’t we?

On Ormsby Island They Do Kill People

Book Review: “Island of the Forbidden” by Hunter Shea

Step by frosty step, Hunter Shea welcomes you to Ormsby Island. I hope he told you to bring a warm coat, for you see, despite this being summer in South Carolina, you’re going to need it here on the island. Oh, it has nothing to do with the weather. No. This type of cold radiates from the very soil of the place where three generations of unspeakable acts ended in the mass murder of hundreds of innocent children. The residents of nearby Charleston have tried to forget, but the children who suffered haven’t and they are not about to let anyone else forget who dares step foot on their personal, little island Hell.

Seasoned paranormal investigators, Jessica Backman and Eddie Home, are lured in by the island’s new owners, Tobe and Daphne Harper. They just want the place to be made safe for their own children, Alice and Jason. The bait works and by the time Jess and Eddie realize they are being used, it’s too late. The hook is too deeply embedded to be removed without causing everyone involved a great deal of pain and suffering.

There’s no way to escape Ormsby Island now. The ghost children have seen to that. They mean to have revenge on those that put them here and to bring to light what really happened all those years ago, so don’t even try to get away. It’s up to Jessica and Eddie to figure out the secret and put this place to rest. But it looks like even they, with all their experience and psychic abilities, may have met their match on the “Island of the Forbidden”.

Hunter Shea does a superb job of reeling in his readers, one child-sized step at a time. Each secret is revealed with perfect timing. As with any good haunted attraction, you think you’re looking in the right direction when suddenly it lurches out at you from a completely different angle. This was my first Shea book and I’m quite certain I’ll be seeking out more of his work in the very near future.

***

Giveaway
Enter to win one of five Hunter Shea books being given away! Two signed copies of Montauk Monster, one signed copy of Sinister Entity, and two e-books of choice of his titles are up for grabs! One book to each winner, given in order of random drawing. Enter to win at the Rafflecopter link. Must use valid email that winners can be contacted by. Print books are U.S. residents only. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2015. Any questions, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Direct Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b17/?

Purchase Links
GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622071-island-of-the-forbidden

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Island-Forbidden-Hunter-Shea-ebook/dp/B00PDJV156/

Samhain Horror:
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5298/island-of-the-forbidden

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/island-of-the-forbidden-hunter-shea/1120724210?ean=9781619226906

Raves for Hunter Shea:

Forest of Shadows
“A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” –Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity
“This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don’t get much better than this.” –Literal Remains

“. . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal
“Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and
elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.” –Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows
Swamp Monster Massacre

“If you’re craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Hunter Shea, Biography

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, HellHole and Island of the Forbidden, which are all published by Samhain Horror.

The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. His second Kensington novel, Tortures of the Damned, will be published later this year.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at http://www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.