The Shadows Are Revealed

In 2013 my first paranormal mystery, “Blood of the Scarecrow”, was released. Due to circumstances beyond my control, it went out of print a mere six months later. Since then, I have been working on not just finding a new publisher for “…Scarecrow”, but writing and completing two other novels.

Although it’s a stand alone novel, the first of those, “That’s What Shadows Are Made Of” also continues a subplot, introduces new characters, keeps a lot of the old ones, and of course, brings us face to face with more dark, murderous, and paranormal nastiness. I like to call it “…Scarecrow”‘s companion book for want of better terminology.

With that, I am pleased to announce that “That’s What Shadows Are Made Of” is now AVAILABLE! through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Europe, as well as the Create Space eStore. Due to some formatting snags, it’s not yet available on Kindle, but hopefully those are soon remedied. MAY even be remedied as I type this.

BUY “THAT’S WHAT SHADOWS ARE MADE OF” HERE!

Additionally, that which WAS “Blood Of The Scarecrow” is undergoing edits, rewrites, new content, cover changes, and will be re-released within the next six months under the new title of “Secrets Of The Scarecrow Moon”

Thank you all for your patience and continued support in my efforts to write and share my stories with you.

 

The Horror of Women

I was ten or eleven the first time I read “Dracula”. Before that I was reading things like Nancy Drew. I may have delved into Stephen King at that young age, too. I’d certainly read “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson before I reached my teen years. The point is, mysteries and thrillers have been on my bookshelf and in my blood from a very early age. Up until quite recently I’ve never paid much attention to who did the writing. As long as the story was good and scared me, I was all for it. Didn’t matter if it was written by a man or a woman.

Quite recently Homme de Plume: What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name by Catherine Nichols came to my attention. As I read it, my dander became more and more riled. As I am a woman struggling to make her mark in the publishing world, you can probably figure out why. It took me two years to find a suitable publisher for my erotica titles, but when I gave that all up to follow my real love of writing horror, things have not gone so well. You’d think having five novels already out there would give you a little bit of credit regardless of genre. Apparently not.

Since 2011 I’ve completed three paranormal thriller manuscripts and am working on a forth. One was published in 2012. Unfortunately the publisher went out of business shortly after my book was released and I have been forced to start my quest over from square one. It’s been anything but fun. It’s been anger and frustration. It’s been hopelessness. It’s been tearful. What makes it worse is that I have been told by people who have read my books that I write a whole lot better than some of the other well-known authors they’ve read. Yeah, I know my writing is far from perfect. I make mistakes, especially in blog form.  It’s all free form-first draft style here, kids, but, I sure as hell write better than I did when that first erotica was unleashed on the world. On top of that, I’ve read some pretty lame horror myself over the past five years or so. I am normally very humble about my work, but sometimes you just know you’re just as good as this other person who sells by the millions, if not better, and yet what do you have to show for it? Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. Tears.

The article by Catherine Nichols got the gears going. I began to question even further how to make my way in this industry that seems to favor the man, or who they perceive to be a man. And then I thought about my chosen genres, horror, murder-mysteries, thrillers and the paranormal. I began to consider some of my favorites in that genre. It dawned on me that the majority of them are men. Heck, even the Nancy Drew books were written by a man under the guise of a female name.

There are a variety of lists out there about the top ten or top twenty horror writers of all time. Men dominate that list. Why? I’ve seen it argued that maybe men just have a better sense of blood, violence, and gore. Maybe. I don’t need those things to make something horrific. I can watch the news if I want to see that sort of thing.

Truthfully, I don’t care for slasher books and films at all. I want nuance. I want depth. I want to see normal, everyday life turned inside out. I want the slow, psychological build up that keeps me awake at night not because I’m afraid a stranger is going to come into my bedroom and attack me with a butcher’s knife, but because I am wondering if that sweet, gentle man beside me in bed is somehow going to go nutso for no apparent reason. Or I’m going to wake up and discover one of my children is missing. That’s scary!! Woo me gently into that darkness with a trusting hand and a tender voice until I have no choice but to go deeper. Don’t shove me in at knife point. It all appears so normal, but it’s not.

That’s what I want to read. That’s what I strive to write. And, modesty aside, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of it in the books I’ve written. That’s when I start getting angry again. That’s why Catherine’s article hit me so hard. Seeing those lists of great horror writers and so few women on those lists gave me another level of dismay. A writer’s mind is a very delicate thing. We are moody and we are fragile in some ways about what we’ve written. We’re full of doubts. We suffer a lot of rejection and for most of us, not writing isn’t an option. We are compelled at in inexplicable level to write.

As a female writer I now feel I have added two more battles in my war to win in the publishing world. It’s hard enough as it is. I read somewhere that of all the manuscripts submitted, only two percent are published. There’s battle one. Battle two, beating the odds because I’m a woman in what really appears to be a male-dominated business. Battle three, writing horror, a genre that has a far, far more masculine presence in the world than does the feminine. I must truly be insane because I keep on writing it despite all these rows of cannons aimed at me.

But, there is good news. We’re out here, honestly! And some of us are pretty damn good! I found a couple great lists of female horror writers: Top 25 Women Horror Writers You Probably Haven’t Heard Of and Horror and Women Who Write It to get you started.

I have no intentions of giving up on this, nor will I change my name to try and beat the odds. I am who I am. I write what I love to write. I am a woman and I love to write horror. Hopefully, one miraculous day, I’ll beat the odds stacked against me and win these battles.

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.

Secret Agent Man.

As some of you may know, I’ve been actively seeking the services of a reputable literary agent since November mainly because of the advice of one Scott Westerfeld of YA fame. Before that, I was sending solely out query letters to publishers. I wasn’t having any luck with the publisher route so, hey, what harm could it do by listening to someone who actually has a clue!? Nada.

Almost immediately, the rejections started coming back. What a big ole ego boost that was, but those recent rejection letters got me to thinking, well, one of them in particular. In the reply was this remark, “It’s just not something I am comfortable representing.” Hm? An odd thing to say when the person in question clearly states they are interested in the horror/thriller genre on their website. It then dawned on me, maybe he was referring to the mention I made of having had some erotica published. It never occurred to me until that moment, but I’m glad it was mentioned.

Erotica, especially the sort I’ve done, is certainly not for everyone. That’s fine. Sci-Fi isn’t for everyone. Horror isn’t for everyone. Fantasy isn’t for everyone. Westerns aren’t for everyone. That’s why there are so many different writing genres to begin with. I don’t go around bragging about the erotica, but it’s part of my history as a writer. It’s where I started to see my dream become reality. Truth be told, it was never my first choice nor something I gave ANY thought to creating until it actually happened. But, I’m not going to hide it from an agent or publisher I think would be suitable for the paranormal thrillers I am far, far more interested in writing and seeing published.

I don’t want to work with an agent who isn’t okay with my past writing history. I’m not asking them to promote it in any way. It’s there. It is what it is. We move on and expand our horizons. Anne Rice did it for God’s sake and what’s good enough for Anne is certainly good enough for me.

So, I thank you, secret agent man (whose privacy I will respect) for the rejection and your comment. Even if you weren’t even talking about the erotica, it did open my eyes about it being included in my query letters. I will continue to include it because I refuse to hide it. I’m not ashamed of it and I certainly don’t want to work with anyone who would want me to keep it hidden.

I sent out another agent query letter yesterday.

Yes, I included a very brief mention of the erotica.

No Rest For The Wicked – A Blurb

I get a fair amount of people asking what I’m working on who are simply not satisfied with my generic reply, “A ghost story.” So, for those who need more gory details, I wrote up this little blurb to whet your appetite. If you like what you see, add me to your prayer/positive vibe list that my efforts to find an agent and/or publisher will soon pay off.

***

No Rest For The Wicked © 2015 – Pamela Morris

A double murder and suicide may have ended the horrors taking place at Greenbrier Planation in 1882, but they were only the beginning of the story when it comes to finding out why they happened at all.

Lucretia, a jealous wife hell bent on revenge, Sadie, a powerless domestic who once feared for her life, and Beauregard, a doctor and the master of the house who puts more faith in the teaching of de Sade than the Bible, all battle for control over who stays and who goes as the outside world tries time and time again to restore the old house to its glory days.

When Eric and Grace McLaughlin purchase Greenbrier, their dreams are just as big as those who have tried to tame the place before them. But, Lucy, Sadie, and Beau have other ideas for these newcomers and it would appear that the sadistic physician has learned a thing or two over the years and is putting his new skills to work. Eric soon becomes the unwilling pawn of Beau’s unsavory desires and rapidly growing power, forcing Grace to take on roles she never imagined.

Enter WhiSPeR, The Winchester Society of Paranormal Research. Could the solution lie within the humble ranks of this group of amateur ghost hunters? It seems unlikely, but the crew is eager to try. Is there any force or any mind powerful enough to put to rest the wickedness that demands complete control, not just over Greenbrier Plantation, but the very body and soul of Eric McLaughlin.

***

A Haunting We Will Go

What with all the hoopla going on about The Conjuring, (which I have yet to see, btw) and the myriad of ghost hunting shows out there, I figured it was time I shared my own ghostly experiences. It truly makes no difference to me whether others believe in this sort of thing or not. My boyfriend is a total non-believer and I still love him regardless.

The earliest true ghost story I was told came to me from my maternal grandmother, Angeline.  She was visiting friends for the weekend and had been given the spare room to sleep in. This room was used by anyone who came to visit them, including numerous grandchildren. On her first night there, she was preparing for bed. As was her habit, she always read a bit before turning off the light for the night. She was doing just that when the door opened and a little girl entered the room already dressed in a simple, white nightgown. The child smiled at my grandmother and asked if she could sleep with her because there wasn’t any other place to sleep. Angeline, of course, didn’t hesitate to let the child hop into the big bed with her which the little girl did and wished her a good night. Gram finished her chapter shortly after, turned off the light and went to sleep herself. By the time morning came about, the child had already gotten up and left the room. Gram got herself up, dressed and headed out to the kitchen where coffee was brewing and breakfast was already starting to be made. As she got her coffee, she asked her friends which grandchild had come to visit. They shook their heads and denied that there were any grandchildren there at all for the weekend. Gram told them about her little night visitor. It was then that they both smiled and said, “Oh, that’s our ghost. She shows up sometimes.” Prior to this, they had never mentioned this presence to my grandmother.

My earliest personal experience I’d have to put around the age of 11-12. At the time my best friend, N., was living in a very large, very old house. Keep in mind the house had two staircases. There were the front stairs with a fancy carved, curved banister – lushly carpeted at the front of the house. At the top was her brother’s room, to the right was her parent’s room and her room was located through a doorway at the start of a long hallway.  At the opposite end of this hallway, that was lined with doors, was the bathroom. There were at least three more bedrooms they didn’t used up there. Beyond the bathroom was the second staircase that lead to the back of the house and the kitchen.

As we sat up in her room talking and playing records we heard someone come running down the hall, knock on her bedroom door then run back down the hall.  N. had an older brother and this sort of activity would be right up his alley so we didn’t really pay much attention. It happened again a few minutes later. The sounds were very clear and we both heard them. The second time she told him in true little sister fashion to “Knock it off!” as she pulled the door open. Of course, there was no one there but clearly he’d made his way down the front stairs quickly. N. closed the door and we went back to whatever we were doing but kept our ears open, determined to catch her brother in the act. Running footsteps, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK… N. yanked the door open. The hallway was empty.

We went downstairs to where her parents and brother were sitting watching TV. N. said, “Mom, tell B. to stop coming upstairs and knocking on my door!” Her brother, who was sprawled on the sofa looked up, kinda confused, “Huh?” Her mother said, “He’s been sitting here watching TV with us for at least an hour.” N. and I looked at each other with surprise and retreated back upstairs to her room.  The sounds did not happen again that night.

Many years later when I was newly married, my  husband and I were searching for a house to buy for our new family. We wanted something old, with character and maybe a little bit out in the countryside. During our search we found a lovely house and prior to contacting the realtor we were having a look around the outside of the place. It needed work but it looked big enough and the location suited us. It was early Autumn and leaves were already changing and falling to the ground. The front yard was scattered with them and as you walked they made that lovely sound of rustling. I was on one end of the house, towards the front. My husband, R. was on the other side towards the back. As I stood looking up at the eaves and determining that a paint job would be in order, I heard the leaves moving as of someone coming back around to where I was standing. Assuming it was R. I didn’t pay too much attention. Movement caught my eye and I looked down to see a youngish woman in a white dress that dated around the turn of the century round the corner of the house. She had brown hair that was loosely pulled up into a ‘Gibson girl’ style. I looked right at her and she at me. Then she was gone. No fading away just suddenly not there.  Startled and excited, but not scared, I went in search of R. and told him what had just happened. Though we did not go on to purchase this particular house, we did find one more in town and where I still live, that is also haunted.

We bought the place in January 1995 and the haunted stories are too numerous to get into here in any great detail. Our first indication was within weeks of moving in when the back kitchen door opened several time on its own until R. said, “Okay, we know you’re here and you are welcome to stay, just stop opening this door and waking us up.” It never happened again. The porch light turned on and off on its own a lot at first. The television did the same.  Kids toys have rolled out of rooms in which there were no kids (or anyone for that matter) playing with them. Footsteps have been heard going up the stairs or walking across the dining room. I’ve heard the front door open and close thinking my son was coming home from work only to go say hello and find no one there. I’ve heard footsteps come up the stairs and a bedroom door close as if one of my kids had arrived home only to find myself still alone. We attribute all of this to a man named Hermann who – by his own daughter’s telling – died in the bedroom upstairs that we designated as the guest room. Over the past years, I’ve grown rather fond of Hermann’s visits. He’s never done any harm to anyone and as far as I’m concerned he can visit whenever he likes.

So, now you know why I’m A Believer. Other things have happened in other places. Not always pleasant things but each one has only solidified my belief that Spirit can and does return to this world and that we can interact with it.