Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Prolific author of dark fantasy, David Niall Wilson. He writes Fantasy and Horror novels and short stories. We are highlighting his novel: Nevermore, A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe.
This blog is sponsored by the Buy The Book Tour.
The price of Nevermore has been reduced on Amazon for this Tour to $2.99.
Tour: July 22-September 2, 2013
A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe
Author: David Niall Wilson
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On the banks of Lake Drummond, on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, there is a tree in the shape of a woman.
One dark, moonlit night, two artists met at The Lake Drummond Hotel, built directly on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. One was a young woman with the ability to see spirits trapped in trees and stone, anchored to the earth beyond their years. Her gift was to draw them, and then to set them free. The other was a dark man, haunted by dreams and visions that brought him stories of sadness and pain, and trapped in a life between the powers he sensed all around him, and a mundane existence attended by failure. They were Eleanore MacReady, Lenore, to her friends, and a young poet named Edgar Allan Poe, who traveled with a crow that was his secret, and almost constant companion, a bird named Grimm for the talented brothers of fairy-tale fame.
Their meeting drew them together in vision, and legend, and pitted their strange powers and quick minds against the depths of the Dismal Swamp itself, ancient legends, and time.
Once, upon a shoreline dreary, there was a tree. This is her story.
The room was low-ceilinged and deep. Smoke wafted from table to table, cigars, pipes, and the pungent aroma of scented candles. Laughter floated out from the bar, separated by a low half-wall from a small dining area, where the bartender regaled the crowd with a particularly bawdy story. In the corners, more private conversations took place, and at the rear, facing the Intercoastal Waterway beyond, the door stood open to the night, letting the slightly cooler air of evening in and the sound and smoke free.
The smoke prevented the illumination from a series of gaslights and lanterns from cutting the gloom properly. Smiles gleamed from shadows and the glint of silver and gunmetal winked like stars. It was a rough crowd, into their drinks and stories, plans and schemes.
Along the back wall, facing a window that looked out over the waterway and the Great Dismal Swamp beyond, a lone figure sat with her back to the room. Her hair was long and light brown, braided back and falling over her shoulder to the center of her back. She was tall and slender with smooth, tanned skin. She was dressed for travel, in a long, floor length dress that covered her legs, while allowing ease of motion. The crowd swirled around her, but none paid her any attention.
She paid no attention to anything but the window. Her gaze was fixed on the point where an intricate pattern of branches and leaves crossed the face of the moon.
There was a sheaf of paper on the table, and she held a bit of chalk loosely between the thumb and index finger of her right hand. She formed the trees, the long strong lines of the trees, the fine mesh of branches and mist. Her fingers moved quickly, etching outlines and shading onto her sketch with practiced ease.
A serving girl wandered over to glance down at the work in progress. She stared at the paper intently, and then glanced up at the window, and the night beyond. She reached down and plucked the empty wine glass from the table.
"What are they?" she asked.
The woman glanced up. Her expression was startled, as if she'd been drawn back from some other place, or out of a trance. She followed the serving girl's gaze to the paper.
Among the branches, formed of limbs and leaves, mist and reflected light, faces gazed out, some at the tavern, some at the swamp, others down along the waterway. They mixed so subtly with the trees themselves that if you were not looking carefully, they seemed to disappear.
"I don't know," the woman said. "Not yet. Spirits, I suppose. Trapped. Tangled."
"You are a crazy woman," the girl said. There was no conviction in her words. She continued to stare at the sketch. Then, very suddenly, she stepped back. She stumbled, and nearly dropped her tray.
The woman glanced up at her sharply.
"That…face." The girl stepped back to the table very slowly, and pointed to the center of the snarl of branches. The tip of her finger brushed along the lines of a square-jawed face. The eyes were dark and the expression was a scowl close to rage.
"I've seen him before," she said. "Last year. He…he was shot."
"Can you tell me?"
The girl shook her head. "Not now. I have to work. If I stand here longer there will be trouble. Later? I must serve until the tavern closes, a few hours…"
The artist held out her hand.
"My Name is Eleanor, Eleanor MacReady, but friends call me Lenore. I'll be here, finishing this drawing, until you close. I know that it will be late, but I am something of a night person. Can we talk then? Maybe in my room?"
The girl nodded. She glanced down at the drawing again and stepped back. Then she stumbled off into the crowded tavern and disappeared. Lenore stared after her for a long moment, brow furrowed, then turned back to the window. The moon had shifted, and the image she'd been drawing was lost. It didn't matter. The faces were locked in her mind, and she turned her attention to her wine glass, and to the paper. The basic design was complete, but there was a lot of shading and detail work remaining. She had to get the faces just right – exactly as she remembered them. Then the real work would begin.
Even as she worked, her mind drifted out toward the swamp, and toward her true destination. She didn't know the exact location of the tree, but she knew it was there, and she knew that she would find it. She didn't always see things in her dreams, but when she did, the visions were always true.
A breeze blew in through the open window, and she shivered.
The face she was working on was that of an older man. He had a sharp, beak of a nose and deep-set shadowed eyes. The expression on his face might have been surprise, or dismay. His hair was formed of strands of gray cloud blended with small twigs and wisps of fog as she carefully entered the details.
There were others. She'd counted five in all, just in that one glimpse of the swamp. She thought she could probably sit right here, at this window, and work for years without capturing them all. How many lives lay buried in the peat moss and murky water? How many had died, or been killed beside the long stretch of the Intercoastal Waterway? She tilted her head and listened. The breeze seemed to carry voices from far away, the sound of firing guns, the screams of the lost and dying.
She worked a woman's features into a knotted joint in one of the tree’s branches. The face was proud. Her lip curled down slightly at the edge, not so much in a frown, as in determination. Purpose. From the strong cheekbones and distinctive lines of the woman's nose, Lenore sensed she'd been an Indian. How had she come here, soul trapped fluttering up through the sticky fingers of the ancient trees?
Around her, the sounds of revelry, arguments of drunken, belligerent men, clink of glasses, full and empty, and the sound of a lone guitar in a far corner surrounded her. She felt cut off – isolated in some odd way from everyone, and everything but the paper beneath her fingers. Now and then she paused, reached out for her glass, and sipped her wine.
No one troubled her and that in and of itself, was odd. A woman – an attractive woman – alone in a place like the Halfway House was an oddity. She should have been a target. She was not. A few men glanced her way, but something about her – the way she bent over her work, the intensity of her focus – kept them away. She worked steadily, and one by one, the others drifted out the doors, some to rooms, others to wander about with bottles and thoughts of their own. Eventually, there were only a few small groups, talking quietly, the bartender, and the girl.
There was nothing more she could do. She had drawn an eerily accurate recreation of the trees over the waterway, and of the five faces she'd found trapped in their branches. She sensed things about them but knew little. She did not need to know. She knew that she had to set them free, to allow them to move on to the next level. Something had bound them – some power, or some part of themselves they were unwilling to release. They did not belong, and though she knew that most of the world either ignored, or did not sense these things at all – she did. All those trapped, helpless beings weighed on her spirit like stones. She was fine until she saw them, but once that happened, she was bound to set them free. It was her gift – her curse? Sometimes the two were too closely aligned to be differentiated.
She rose, drained the last of the wine in her cup, and gathered her pencils. She tucked the drawing into the pocket of a leather portfolio, careful not to smudge it. Soon, it would not matter, but until she'd had a chance to finish her work, it was crucial that nothing be disturbed.
The girl, who had been busy wiping the spilled remnants of ale, wine, and the night from the various tables and the surface of the bar, wandered slowly over.
"I'm in the corner room," Lenore said, smiling. "The one farthest in on the Carolina side."
The girl nodded. She glanced over at the bartender, then turned back.
"I will come as soon as I can." She glanced down at the portfolio. "You have finished?"
Lenore nodded, but only slightly. "I have finished the basic drawing, yes."
"He was a bad man," the girl said. "A very bad man. I have never seen him there – in the trees – before tonight. I don't like that he watches."
"After tonight, he will not," Lenore said, reaching to lay her hand on the girl's shoulder. "But I'd love to know who he is – who he was. I seldom know the faces I've drawn. You saw him – in my drawing, and in the trees. Most see nothing but branches."
"I will come soon," the girl said, turning and hurrying back toward the bar.
Lenore watched her go, frowned slightly, and then turned. She had to exit through the front door and follow a long porch along the side of the building where it turned from the saloon in the center to a line of rooms on the Carolina side. There were similar rooms on the Virginia side, but her business was in the swamp, and the corner room gave her a better view of what lay beyond.
As she made her way to her room, she heard the steady drum of hooves. She stopped, and turned. A carriage had come into view, winding in from the main road that stretched between the states. It was dark, pulled by a pair of even darker horses. She stood still and watched as it came to a halt. Something moved far above, and she glanced up in time to see a dark shape flash across the pale face of the moon. A bird? At night?
She glanced back to the carriage to see it pulling away into the night. A single figure stood, his bag in one hand. He glanced her way, nodded, and then turned toward the main door of the saloon. He was thin, with dark hair and eyes. It was hard to make his features out in the darkness, but somehow she saw into those eyes. They were filled with an odd, melancholy sadness. As he passed inside, it seemed as if his shadow remained, just for a moment, outlined in silvery light. Then it was gone.
Lenore shook her head, turned, and hurried to the door to her room. She fumbled the key from her jacket pocket, jammed it into the lock, and hurried inside. She had no idea why the sight of the man had unnerved her, but it had. And the bird. If she'd woken from a dream, she'd have believed she was meant to set him free…but she was very, very awake, and though her fingers itched to draw – to put his image on paper and tuck it away somewhere safe, she knew she could not. Not now – not yet. There was not much time before dawn, and she still had work to finish – and a story to hear. The stranger, if she ever returned to him, would have to wait.
She lit the oil lamp on the single table in her small room, opened the portfolio, and laid the drawing on the flat surface. There was a small stand nearby, and another bottle of wine rested there. She had two glasses, but had not known at the time why she'd asked for them. Another vision? She poured one for herself, and replaced the cork.
Moments later, there was a soft rap on the door. When she opened it, the girl stood outside, shifting nervously from one foot to the other and looking up and down the long porch as if fearing to be seen.
"Come in," Lenore said.
The girl did so, and Lenore closed the door behind them.
"What shall I call you?" she asked, trying to set the girl at ease. Something had her spooked and it would simply not do to have the girl bolt without spilling her story.
"Anita," the girl said shyly, glancing at Lenore. "I am Anita."
"I'm glad to meet you," Lenore said, "and very curious to hear what you have to say about the man you saw in the trees. I see them all the time, you know. In trees, bushes, sometimes in the water or a stone. It's not very often that I meet another who is aware of them – even less often that I have a chance to hear their stories."
"It is not a good story," Anita said. "He was a very bad man."
Lenore smiled again. "He's not a man any longer, dear, so there is nothing to fear in the telling. Would you like a glass of wine?"
The girl nodded. Lenore poured a second glass from her bottle and handed it over.
"Sit down," she said. "I still have work to do, and I can work as you talk. It will relax me."
"I will tell you," Anita said, perching lightly on the corner of the bed, "but it will not relax you."
"Then it will keep me awake," Lenore said, seating herself at her desk. "You see, I don't just see those who are trapped, I have to undo whatever it is that has them trapped. I won't be finished until I've freed them all."
The girl glanced sharply over, nearly spilling her drink.
"Maybe…maybe it is best if this one stays."
Lenore pulled out her pencils, and a gum eraser.
"We'll leave him for now," she said. "There are four others, and I can only work on one at a time. Tell me your story."
Anita took a sip of her wine, and nodded. "His name is Abraham Thigpen. He died about a year ago but I remember it like today…"
Lenore listened, and worked, rearranging branches, shifting the wood slightly, picking the strong woman's face to release from the pattern first. Anita's voice droned in the background – and she faded into the story, letting it draw her back across the years as she carefully disassembled her drawing, working the faces free.
Fantasy, Horror, Fiction
David Niall Wilson
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David Niall Wilson has been writing and publishing horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction since the mid-eighties. An ordained minister, once President of the Horror Writer’s Association and multiple recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, his novels include Maelstrom, The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, Deep Blue, the Grails Covenant Trilogy, Star Trek Voyager: Chrysalis, Except You Go Through Shadow, This is My Blood, Ancient Eyes, On the Third Day, The Orffyreus Wheel, and Vintage Soul – Book One of the DeChance Chronicles. The Stargate Atlantis novel “Brimstone,” written with Patricia Lee Macomber is his most recent. He has over 150 short stories published in anthologies, magazines, and five collections, the most recent of which were “Defining Moments,” published in 2007 by WFC Award winning Sarob Press, and the currently available “Ennui & Other States of Madness,” from Dark Regions Press. His work has appeared in and is due out in various anthologies and magazines. David lives and loves with Patricia Lee Macomber in the historic William R. White House in Hertford, NC with their children, Billy, Zach, Zane, and Katie, and occasionally their genius college daughter Stephanie.
SHOWCASE Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your new novel: Nevermore. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I never have just one thing in progress these days. I am working on Book V of the DeChance Chronicles, which I can only say continues on both from Book IV, Kali's Tale, but also from Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. Nevermore really should be marked book 4.5 – even though Donovan DeChance only appears very shortly, because it is the lead-in to all that happens in book V – working title – A Midnight Dreary. Originally, the story that is Nevermore was intended as a flashback. It just grew beyond expectations.
At the same time, I am working on a Young Adult novel titled HOODS that I expect to become a series as well. It involves a group of teenagers in an inner city environment who have unique abilities. Sort of like "Alphas" or "Heroes" but gritty.
Along with this, I'm working on a long-term project titled Tattered Remnants that is a serial killer novel, of sorts…nothing I write is easily classified, but I think I like it that way. It helps me (over time) reach a wider readership, and keeps me from getting pigeonholed as this or that sort of author. I'm a storyteller. I have a lot of stories to tell, and not all of them are the same kind…
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?
I find that Social Media is a very frustrating marketing environment. Most of the active people are selling one thing, or another, services, books, TV shows, etc. What has been created is a huge marketing machine that mostly markets books to other writers, and that's not all that useful. The potential of Social Media is huge, but it requires building a following along the lines of those celebrities can boast of. My friend Neil Gaiman has certainly done it right, because the majority of people on his million plus list are fans of his work – readers eagerly looking for new stories. That is the key.
I think book bloggers like yourself have become an important marketing tool as well, in that they tend to be read more by "readers" and a little bit less by other writers. Of course, like any marketing plan that works – it is now hard to get a book reviewed by any of the top book blogs, and so you suffer the new frustration of seeing books promoted daily, but being unable to work yours into the mix. There is still a lot of luck and timing involved.
One thing about Twitter – and even the way I use Facebook. While I mention my books regularly, I spend a lot more time just talking with people, interacting, and responding to what others post. In other words, being a real person. To me, few things in social media are more off-putting than accounts that are one or two real posts to every twenty or so automated advertisements.
As for my launch process – I'm the CEO of Crossroad Press. We represent over 130 authors and about 700 titles now. We are constantly evolving the process of launching our original titles (many of our titles are backlist NYC published paperbacks we are bringing back in digital). We have had some real success with our titles, and some disappointing launches as well. It changes almost daily, and you have to be able to find which thing is working right at the moment you need it, and plan accordingly.
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I have done all of those things. My wife, Patricia Lee Macomber, and I will be signing on July 5th in Elizabeth City, NC. at the Page after Page bookstore on Water. We have a lot of children- but now all but one of them has flown the next – three in the US Navy, and one graduating cum laude from Columbia College and going on to work for a company in Denver. Our daughter Katie is a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, and scary stories, so I think we can count on her to let us cart her around some conventions. With our new found freedom, we expect to be appearing at more conferences, conventions, and events.
I am always available for speaking engagements within range of home. Both Trish and I have spoken at Norfolk State University, and a few years back I was the Keynote speaker at a writer's conference up in Connecticut. Mostly it's a matter of having time…
I'm a very busy man. That said, the best way to keep up with me and interact with me is on Twitter and Facebook, where I'm very active. You can also find me on my blog fairly regularly.
Today there is a buzz in the industry about high rankings on retailer’s lists because of the use of on-line advertising sites. Have you ever promoted your books with paid advertising? What has been your experience?
As a publisher and author I have to keep up with all the options, so yes, we've tried a variety of paid options. Some of them have paid off, and others have not. Some used to pay off, and don't any longer – at least not in balance with their cost.
Currently, the best value out there is a mailing list site called BookBlast – (www.bookblast.co ) and the most powerful promotions (though harder to get into ) are Bookbub.com and Pixel of Ink, both of which seem to have huge reach when it comes to actual sales. Remember what I said above about book blogs though – the more powerful a marketing tool becomes, the more difficult it is to get involved.
I'm not going to go over similar promotions that have not worked for us, because I'm not – in general – a negative sort of person. Most of the sites out there asking for money are not going to generate much in the way of sales. If a site will not provide you at least an average of what their promotion can accomplish, they are hiding something. If they are just using your sales rank on Amazon to show how good they are, that rank can shift wildly with not that many sales, depending on when, and how quickly, the sales occur. Spend your money wisely.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I do not, in general, ask my readers for input on covers. One reason is that they never agree … and the other is that, for me anyway, finally having control over this aspect of my work is important to me. The cover for Nevermore was created by kinetic artist Lisa Snellings, One Artist Human Finding Her Way, who actually sculpted a piece titled "Tree of Lasting Sorrow" for my book, then painted a background and photographed it at various angles. The covers for my DeChance Chronicles I commissioned from artist Bob Eggleton – whose work I absolutely adore.
For the publishing company, we have a particular theory about eBook covers. When we do print books, we sometimes vary the cover from print to eBook to meet our own criteria. First, the print – the title and author's name – have got to be thick and bright enough to read at postage-stamp size, as you generally see them online. We believe that a cover with good text design and a single, striking image works best. Series works should be branded so that they LOOK like a series.
I am very lucky to work with a group of graphic artists who are very good at making these covers happen quickly and economically. A great cover, as you know, is important, but not as important as getting visibility. If no one knows you, or your book, changing the cover, price, marketing synopsis, etc. won't change that. I particularly love the cover for Nevermore.
Besides being a member of the Horror Writer's Association, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I generally don't spend much time with organizations, but these days – again – that's largely a factor of just not having the time. I'm off-and-on a member of SFWA. My membership there is lapsed, because I simply have not gotten enough use from my membership in recent years to support my paying dues. I'm a member of the ITW (International Thriller Writers) and a member of APA (Audiobook Publisher's Association) but I am not overly active in any of them – not even HWA these days, though I try to pay attention to what is going on. Again – I don't really write horror that often – and I hate the idea of being known as just a horror writer, or just a mystery writer, etc…
Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?
I do not. Not well, anyway. I just work. I keep lists of the most important things not to forget, and I put a lot of notes in my e-mail calendar so that either the computer, or the phone, will remind me. If it were not for solid support from my family – my daughter is also a published author with two eBooks out and she is only nine – my wife is an award-winning editor and a talented author in her own right – my business partner at Crossroad Press, David Dodd, and our print designer, Aaron Rosenberg, I would fall apart and fail miserably.
I try to figure out going into each day which things will be most important, and plan around that. I always allow some time for my writing. What I do is keep the file I'm working on currently open and minimized, and then, when I get a lull – or when I'm just tired of whatever else is going on – I escape into my story.
I wish I could provide a magic time-management system, but for me it just doesn't exist. The only time I'm that focused is November, when I (always) participate in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month).
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I think it's a practice that's time has come and gone, except in rare situations. When Amazon separated the "free" list from the "paid" list, it was the beginning of the end. Sure, you can sign up for some amazing promotions and give away a LOT of books. This can lead to new reviews, and to exposure you would not have gotten, but it will not lead to huge changes in your sales unless someone picks up on it, reviews it in an important blog, etc.
Recently we did a free promotion for Hallowed Ground, a novel I wrote with International Bestselling Author Steven Savile. We gave away 21,627 books…and we were way up at the top of the free charts in several categories (It's a great book, by the way, and ties in with The DeChance Chronicles, as it introduces the town of Rookwood – where his 'origin story' takes place). The reality check on this promotion happened the minute the promotion ended and the price went back to normal. 21,627 free downloads counts for exactly zero on the real chart, so we were back at 457,000 on the charts.
We did manage trickle sales that paid for the promotion, but I'm convinced that the lowest you should go in a promotion these days is .99 – that way if you have great success you will retain the ranking you achieve when the promotion ends.
Another thing to keep in mind is that readers can get used to getting your books for free, and if all you do is run your titles through a cycle, one bargain priced, one free, etc. and then switch them up you will a: get people waiting for the book to be free, and b: get people angry who just bought it and a week later it's free.
Do you publish your books in other languages? How is your audience abroad?
My books have been published in other languages, particularly those I wrote for White Wolf publishing – The Grails Covenant Trilogy, The Dark Ages Clan novel Lasombra, and some others, as well as my Star Trek novel, Voyager #12, Chrysalis. I also sold my first novel, This is My Blood, to Gargoyle books in Italy, who had it translated. Generally, though, I don't have much personal experience with selling foreign rights, though I'd like to learn.
How important has Audio Books been to your success? Do you recommend new authors going this route to get more exposure?
I love audiobooks. I listen to them whenever I'm driving, and for years I had a 2 ½ hour commute from North Carolina up to Virginia, so I've listened a lot. That said, auidobooks are not a marketing aid. In fact, it's harder to get listeners for a new audiobook by an unknown author than it is to get readers for your print or eBook, because the market is smaller, and because it takes longer to listen to an audiobook – it's a bigger commitment.
There are wonderful programs like Audible's ACX system (we use this for all Crossroad Press audiobooks) that are making it easier for people to get books into audio, but like any other art form – and good audio IS an art form – it takes work, commitment, and usually some money. If you choose a free narrator, willing to work just for royalty share profits on a new, untested author's book, you are going to get what you paid for. Experience and sound quality are very important. It's not a matter of reading – great narrators are voice actors – they don't lose you as they switch from gender to gender, or character to character.
My advice would be to only tackle audio if you have some money, and the time to be very careful. There are wonderful narrators and sound engineers, such as my buddy Jeffrey Kafer, who does all the audio mastering for our titles. Professional quality audio, mastered and ready to go, is likely to cost $300 - $400 per finished hour. You can get it cheaper, and you can pay a lot more if you have a particular voice you love. It's a big commitment.
One thing that is in our favor now is the new Whispersync for Voice system on Amazon. If you buy the eBook of Nevermore from Amazon, you can get the audiobook for only $1.99 – all of that expense being a big savings over the price of the audio on its own. If you use your Kindle to listen to the book, you will actually be able to sync the eBook and Audiobook, picking up in one where the other left off. Everything changes.
I should mention that I absolutely love the narration of Nevermore, performed by Gigi Shane.
Author's Book List
"She died," Chessie said. "She died, rose, and nearly died again. She comes. The crows know her – the crows guide her. She follows the sound of a crying child. She follows the drag of un-kept promises on her heart." – Chessie – Hallowed Ground
"They came in the night with their creak-wheeled wagons and patchwork tents, rolling down through the gulch and up the other side to pitch camp. In Rookwood, they called it 'Dead man's Gulch,' and in Rookwood, names were important. If you walked too far through that God-forsaken, dust-drowned ditch, you were bound to drag your boots through bones. If you felt something sharp dig into your heel, it could be a tooth taking a last bite of something hot and living. The Deacon stood in silent shadows watching their progress, occasionally glancing up into the pale, inadequate light of the waning moon."
When a man known only as The Deacon set up camp outside Rookwood, a murder of crows took to unnatural, moonlit flight. The crows came to Rookwood; trouble soon to follow. Things were already strange in that God-forsaken town, but no one could have predicted the forces and fates about to meet in a dust-bowl clearing in the desert. A Preacher. A Demon. An Angel. A Gunslinger.
A bargain with the darkness was signed in blood, and broken, and as such deals usually do, it went south. Now the fate of lost lovers, faith healers, ancient Gods and the Devil himself collide in a circle of wagons tended by the damaged and deformed, the saved and the shorn. There's a power come to Rookwood, and this one-horse town is about to be transformed. Such deals are only made and broken…on Hallowed Ground.
From Steven Savile, International bestselling author of Silver, The Last Angel, and The Sufferer's Song, and David Niall Wilson, Bram Stoker Award-winner David Niall Wilson, author of Deep Blue, This is My Blood, & Heart of a Dragon, comes a tale of the old west, magic, enlightenment and damnation readers have said is like Stephen King's The Gunslinger meets Daniel Knauf's Carnivale
Praise for Hallowed Ground:
"A surreal, pulp school, darkly fantastic oater that sets all the elements of your favorite western tropes on their ears (and noses, foreheads, and asses)."--Tom Piccirilli, author of Nightjack, The Cold Spot, and The Fever Kill.
"Steven Savile and David Niall Wilson have produced a fine entry in the burgeoning Weird Western genre. Elegantly written, bristling with action and drama, HALLOWED GROUND is intelligent, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining. Readers of both Westerns and horror novels shouldn’t miss it!" -- James Reasoner, author of REDEMPTION, KANSAS
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There is an ancient evil lurking in the mountains of California. One peak over from Friendly, California, there is another, darker place. In that place there are two churches. Displaced from a time and place far distance, an ancient carving watches from an alcove above the door of a broken down, nearly forgotten church. When the evil it embodies reaches out and snags the soul of Silas Greene, roots creep down into the mountain and out into everything they touch. There is another church on the mountain. It is made of stone, carved into the stone of the mountain, and also all but forgotten.
A message goes out to Abraham Carlson. "He's Back. Come home, boy." When young Abraham returns to the mountain, and to that stone church, a battle is rejoined that should have ended decades in the past. When the cleansing began - and was never completed. The only question is, does Abraham have the strength...or will he, and everyone he loves, fall into the depths of those evil, ancient eyes…
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When Klaus Von Kroft brings his band to the mountain village of Rathburg to perform a concert, a generations old tapestry of blood and darkness draws about him like a shroud. Delving into the disappearance of his parents, Klaus finds himself entranced by Rosa, a sunset-haired woman of mystery and darkness, her companions, and the eerily perfect music they play. But Rosa is far more than mysterious. She has stolen the blood and souls of men on the mountain above Rathburg for centuries. As Klaus is drawn into her web of vengeance and blood, his friends are dragged along behind. Can he unravel the mystery of the mountain and overcome the call of blood…or will they all fall to Rosa's game of hunger and revenge?
The answer lies on the mountain, but there is little time…with Darkness Falling…
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The Orffyreus Wheel
In 1712, Johann Bessler unveiled an amazing invention. It was a Perpetuum Mobile – a Perpetual Motion Device – a wheel that spun after being set into motion until it was stopped with no mechanical input. It was capable of sustaining this motion and producing enough energy to complete “work” – meaning, literally, that there was something from nothing. Bessler never revealed his secret. He was hounded, mocked, and chased through a very rough and adventurous life. His secret died with him.
Except that it didn’t.
Elly Kassel is the granddaughter and heir of Evelyn Kassel, though the two were not close. Elly is called into the offices of eminent London Solicitors Ratliff & Brownridge, where she discovers that her grandmother was a rich woman. She also receives a trunk, and an envelope, which she is not to open until she reaches New York City. In New York, she is told, all her questions about her grandmother, and her inheritance will be answered.
What follows is a series of harrowing near-misses as Elly studies and learns the secrets of The Orffyreus Project, where free energy might be a very real possibility, and her grandmother’s dream of bringing the perpetual motion wheel into production and wide-spread use for the good of mankind seems very possible, and Maxwell Black does everything in his considerable power to stop her, to steal the technology, and to see that the interests of the Petroleum industry are protected from the imminent disaster of obsolescence. Meanwhile, the novel follows parallel paths, showing the odd life of Johann Bessler as he tries to sell his invention to the highest bidder in the distant past, and Elly Kassel as she tries to prevent her grandmother’s re-discovery of that invention doing exactly that. The two story lines bear down on one another, will history repeat itself and bury the wheel forever? The answer lies in the pages of “The Orffyreus Wheel.”
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On the Third Day
Father Darren Prescott is a seeker of truth. He works for The Vatican, but his real work is within his own mind and heart; Father Prescott hunts miracles. Father Thomas is a young priest with a quiet congregation that worships at San Marcos by the Sea, a small cathedral outside San Valencez, California. One Easter Father Thomas’ Mass is interrupted by something he cannot explain – something powerful that shakes his world, and that of his congregation.
Father Thomas experiences the Stigmata.
On The Third Day is the story of Father Thomas and his search for answers. He turns to the church, and his immediate superior, Bishop Michaels, for support and assistance and is shocked to find that not all priests seek miracles. Some are comfortable with the status quo and vicious in their defense of it. Bishop Michaels is battling his own demons, not the least of which is a barely controlled love of alcohol.
Despite the distaste it engenders, Bishop Michaels attends Easter Mass the year after the first “incident.” He comes armed with an attitude of furious disbelief, and a video camera. When Father Thomas not only repeats the previous year’s experience, but with much greater intensity, collapsing across the altar and causing a near riot, the Bishop escapes with his camera, and his sanity, and makes calls of his own. He still does not believe, but now he feels he needs a greater power than his own to prove his disbelief, even to himself.
At the request of Bishop Michaels’ superior, and his own mentor, Cardinal O’Brien, Father Prescott arrives and begins his investigation with a third Easter Mass looming. The Bishop is determined that Father Thomas be proven a charlatan and a fraud. Father Thomas is frightened for his life, and for his faith, and only wants answers. Father Prescott? He wants the miracle he’s waited his entire life to overcome, to make up for what he considers past failings of his own.
What all three men find is the powerful, thrilling conclusion to On The Third Day, an experience that draws them together and pushes them apart in ways they never could have imagined. The answers are there, but some answers are too difficult to bear.
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Defining Moments is the award-nominated collection by author David Niall Wilson. This book collects a lot of stories written over a lot of years. It was first published by Welsh publisher Sarob Press. Defining Moments was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award as a collection. The story “The Gentle Brush of Wings,” first published in this collection, WON the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction. The collection was originally issued in only limited and lettered states, and is long sold out. Copies go in excess of fifty dollars apiece.
The Lost Wisdom of Instinct
For These Things I Am Truly Thankful
More Than Words
The Call of Farther Shores
Bloody Knife and Morning Star
The Gentle Brush of Wings*
The Death-Sweet Scent of Lilies
To Dream of Scheherazade
A Taste of Blood and Roses
The Milk of Paradise
’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky*
All previously published stories have been newly revised by the author for this collection. *Previously Unpublished.
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Heart of a Dragon
Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator. Over the span of a long life, he has gathered and archived the largest occult library in the world.
When a local houngan begins meddling with powers she may not be able to control, a turf war breaks out between the Dragons motorcycle club and the Los Escorpiones street gang—a war that threatens to open portals between worlds and destroy the city in the process.
With his lover, Amethyst, his familiar, Cleo – an Egyptian Mau the size of a small bobcat –the dubious aid of a Mexican sorcerer named Martinez and the budding gifts of a young artist named Salvatore, DeChance begins a race against time, magic, and almost certain death.
The fate of the city rests on his success, and on the rare talent of a boy who walks in two worlds, and dreams of dragons
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