When you think about gothic ghost story romances such as Wuthering Heights, you don't normally end up with an Ozzy Osbourne song stuck in your head. Unless you're me.
I was a teenager when my mother had me read Emily Brontë’s masterpiece, Wuthering Heights. That story is what started my love affair with anti-heroes (how can anyone not love Heathcliff?), and my love for gothic romances and ghost stories. Since then, I’ve written many, many anti-heroes of my own. But…this story isn’t about one of them.
Fast forward to the present…
‘Diary of a Madman’ is one of my favorite songs from Ozzy. It’s atmospheric and chilling. It’s also what inspired an entire story. If you’re curious, you go to http://youtu.be/WiEJOzAVAXc to hear the song.
The Candlewood Wraith isn’t my first ghost story, but it’s one of my personal favorites. Set in the fictional backwoods Tennessee town of Candlewood, it begins on a stormy November night in 1810, then jumps to the present--2013. And all that time, Noah Cunningham is trapped in his home, cursed by a vampiric witch. Sam Locke is a modern vampire with a past he can’t escape--and a man he can’t forget.
The book is due out April 1st from Loose Id as part of the Eostre’s Baskets multi-author series. I can’t show off the beautiful cover yet, but here’s a taste to whet your appetites and hopefully tide you over until then!
"Forever will you remain unseen, untouched," she hissed. "As I was to my husband, so shall you be to the world for all eternity."
Thunder cracked and Mary vanished. Shocked, Noah could only stare in abject horror at the blood on his threshold. Elsa howled from the sitting room, but it took a moment before Noah could find the energy to move. He inched toward the door and stared beyond it, into the stormy night. Mary was gone.
Noah grabbed his rifle and whistled to Elsa. The dog joined him and together they skirted the puddle of blood and headed down the front steps. The woods beyond his house were unnaturally still, even with the wind blowing. Lightning lit up the sky and rain lashed through the trees, soaking Noah and Elsa to the bone. Noah ran down the road to the Locke family’s home. He pounded on the door.
“Samuel!” Swallowing back fresh fear, Noah slammed his fist against the door again. “Samuel!”
When he didn’t get an answer, Noah stepped back and kicked the wooden door open. The top hinge snapped, leaving the door to hang loose. Noah stormed into the house. He went from room to room, shouting Samuel’s name. He found no trace of Samuel, nor any blood. The house felt still, empty, like not even a rodent dared to breathe. There had been blood on Mary and her knife, but Noah saw none in the house.
Fury and fear renewed, Noah rushed to the nearest farmhouse. Surely the Anders heard or saw something. A light burned inside, and Noah banged on the door.
“Jacob Anders! Elizabeth! Anyone!”
The door opened and Noah opened his mouth to explain that Samuel was missing, but then he realized Jacob Anders, a man he considered a good friend, was looking everywhere—except at him. Before Noah could say another word, Jacob stepped back inside and shut the door. Freezing rain had nothing on the ice that crept through Noah’s veins. He walked backward, never taking his eyes off of the farmhouse. Then he aimed his rifle upward and shot.
The farmhouse door jerked open once again.
“Who is out there?” Jacob stepped out the door and scanned the area, going right over Noah and Elsa like he didn’t even see them.
“Forever will you remain unseen…”
“No…” Noah shook his head, Mary’s words returning to him. “Mary, what have you done?”
Noah raced back to his home. He sidestepped the blood on the threshold, slammed the door shut, and locked it. Then he stepped away, not daring to turn his back on it. Despite the storm, the house felt as if an unearthly silence had settled over it, much like Samuel’s home. The fire in the hearth continued to crackle and burn, but its warmth failed to reach the entry hall. Noah shivered. He didn’t know what to make of Mary’s words. He was not sure he wanted to know exactly what she had meant, but the incident at the farmhouse made the uneasiness return with a vengeance.
Convinced the door would remain closed this time, Noah went into the kitchen for something to clean up the blood. He found the tattered remains of an old blanket and took it to the entry hall. When he spread it out on the floor, the blood seeped through the threadbare cloth within seconds. Noah felt sick, but he did his best to ignore it. He cleaned up the mess and tossed the bloody blanket out the front door. The wood had already become stained, forcing him to see it. The last thing he needed was a blood-soaked blanket to remind him of such a horrifying night.
When done, he returned to the sitting room. He gathered his coat and hat, then stopped. If Jacob had not seen him, would anyone else? Noah knew he had to try, for Samuel’s sake, at least. He rushed out the door, Elsa behind him. Instead of going to Jacob’s this time, he continued on to the town proper. A light burned in one of the lower windows of the Locke estate, the home of Samuel’s father. Noah took the steps two at a time and banged on the door.
“Aaron Locke! It is Noah Cunningham!” The door opened and Noah breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank the Lord. Mr. Locke, I fear Samuel is—“
“Hello?” Aaron Locke, Samuel’s father, stared right at Noah, but did not seem to see him at all. “Who is out here?”
“I am right here!” Noah shouted, waving his rifle in front of Aaron’s face.
“I will have none of your games,” Aaron announced. “Show yourself!”
Noah stumbled backward down the steps, lost his footing, and landed on the soaked grass. He watched as Samuel’s father shut the door with a huff. Samuel was missing, could very well be dying, and no one could hear him scream.
Call me Katherine or Mychael--I'll answer to both. I'm a mother, student, author by trade, and editor by compulsion. I've been in the publishing business for several years, namely as a writer but also as an editor on occasion. It never fails, though. I always end up editing eventually.
I'm a proud bibliophile, to which my poor sagging bookcases can attest. I read all the time, namely fantasy and romance.
When not writing or reading or editing, I...eat. Maybe sleep. Or watch Spongebob. Yes. I am a self-proclaimed, thirty-something year old Spongebob Squarepants addict. Much to my partner's dismay. It's fun.
If you're curious about what I write (and who wouldn't be?!), then you can find me below: