The Haunting of Tessa Pines – Release Shenanigans

September 25th is fast approaching!

In case you were wondering, that’s the official release date for my newest novel The Haunting of Tessa Pines. Which is perfect because as the title suggests, there are ghosts in it, making this time of year ideal for reading.

I love autumn. I love the smells, the colors, the brisk air.

And corn mazes.

I rarely make it through an entire corn maze, but I have great fun trying, which is something I have in common with the main character of the novel. Tessa finds herself in the middle of a corn maze during the course of the story and I admit to taking a good deal of pleasure writing the scene.

There’s more going on in it, of course. The poor woman is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and finds herself in a bit of a mental maze as well. Add to that the presence of her ex-husband, an overbearing father intent on making his daughter well again, and a nosy roommate, and we have the makings of a very frustrating evening.

I’d like to say I wrote the scene directly after visiting a corn maze, but this novel was written during National Novel Writing Month in November 2017, so all the mazes were already closed. At least in Idaho they were.

Still, it was the right time of year.

Writing Spooky Stuff

Residual Haunting may be my first quasi-ghost story/science fiction attempt but it’s not the first time I’ve ever used a ghost. In fact, my first published novel, Sedition, featured a ghost that popped up every now and then. And Witch-Born had that boy, Baldemor Delgora, who haunted the shores of Witch-Eater Lake.

So I think it’s safe to say that I like using the paranormal in my work. Residual Haunting just ajmaguire-ResidualHaunting-COVERhappens to be the first book that centers on such things.

I’m not sure why I have this attraction to these spooky, unsettling, and often tragic themes, but I do. In my defense, William Shakespeare loved using them too. Macbeth and Hamlet are just two that I can name without having to do any research.

Granted, his culture and time period was very superstitious so it’s really no surprise that ghosts were used to help facilitate a story line.

Still, it’s a grand tradition. Writing creepy things, telling ghost stories or anything that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, is rooted into our culture. I mean, Stephen King is like the poster boy for all things that go bump in the night.

We all know him regardless of whether or not we’ve read him before. In fact, some people avoid reading any Stephen King precisely because they don’t want to be scared out of their wits.

I know I did for a while. (Oh, come on. If the clown from It didn’t scare you, you’ve lost your mind.)

In any case, I believe I am in good company writing spooky stuff. Even if I don’t intend to enter the horror genre itself, there’s still plenty of room for the supernatural to find its way into my work.

Residual Haunting is now Live

Cover Art by Chris Howard
Cover Art by Chris Howard

Welcome to October!

As promised, Residual Haunting — my first ghost/semi-horror/paranormal story — has found its way onto Wattpad and its own Story Blog. (Take a moment to admire Chris Howard’s amazing artwork on the cover! I absolutely love it!)

Now then …

Why am I posting a draft of this novel online for free?

It seems like a silly thing for an author, who wants to make money on telling stories, to post their work before any real editing can come of it (thus subjecting any Readers who dare to take the trip to a rough ride of possible typos and awkward wording) and to do so for free.

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, Residual Haunting is a grand experiment for me. It’s an exercise in whether or not I can write something completely on the computer (normally I hand write everything first) and I know I’m going to learn quite a bit in the process. (Honestly, I already have but we’ll get to that later.)

If by some chance my experience with Residual Haunting can somehow aid a fellow writer then I would like to share it. Thus, we find the serialization process begun. I’ll go through a focused dissection of the experience when we’ve reached the end.

Second, I love the history of serializations in general. I got to play Beth in “Little Women” when I was in high school so the concept of serializing stories gives me fond memories. (If you remember, Jo had her stories serialized in the paper.)

And Third, it’s fun.

No, really. It’s fun. I had a blast with Persona last year and promised myself that I would do it again once I found a suitable book (one not on contract and focused on learning something about the craft) and Residual Haunting fits that bill.

So! If you like the paranormal and are adventurous enough to embark on this journey with me then welcome to the experiment! Follow the links above to find the story in your preferred format (Wattpad or Blog) and let’s get started!

Fun with Ghosts

I really hate things that I cannot control.  I am, to an extent, a control freak.  So ghosts scare me.  Anything I can’t pick up a blunt object and defend myself against makes me nervous.  Zombies scare me too, but I’m fairly confident I can bludgeon them away from me if I have to.  That said, I still manage to use them in my fiction sometimes.

Well, now that I think about it, there are strange apparitions in most of my novels.  Saboteur, however, had more of a “future ghost” thing going on and that was all dealing with magic.  But my favorite ghost from one of my personal novels has to be Baldemor Delgora from the Witch-Born series.

Why?

For starters I love his name.  Baldemor Delgora just rolls off the tongue in a pleasant manner.  It sounds old, though the ghost is of a little boy and I find that contradiction fun.  We only get to see him twice in Witch-Born, but the sequel Dead Magic has him turning up again.  (Dead Magic is nearly completed, by the way.  It should be done at the end of November.)  He’s more active in this new novel and he has lost his friendliness — inasmuch as he was ever “friendly” but he does attempt to hurt three different people this time.

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I might give a snippet of Baldemor in action.  This is from Dead Magic, which is under contract and will be out sometime next year.  For those unfamiliar with the novels, Witch-Born is set in the world of Magnellum, which is a steampunk/magic blend where Witches are nobility.  The Witches use their magic to hold up the barrier separating Magnellum from what is known as the Wild — a primal force bent on killing everyone inside Magnellum.

***

Valeda had the disturbing sensation of something very cold sliding down her spine.  The only sound came from the waterfalls crashing into the lake just beyond, though Valeda could swear she heard a low, deep humming from the boy in front of her.  He hadn’t answered her yet and the House Witch had given no explanation, so Valeda kept quiet.  If she was being honest, she was terrified.

       There was something malicious about the boy, something intense and powerful that clung to him.

       “In truth, Miss Quinlan, I’m not sure how to introduce you,” Elsie said at last. “The form before you is that of Baldemor Delgora.  Baldemor, however, has been dead for centuries.”

       Valeda swallowed down her fear. “Centuries?”

       “Until recently he talked.  Sometimes he would warn people away from the Lake.  But he’s changed now.  He’s more Wild than anything else.” The Witch tugged at her earlobe and frowned. “The Wild is coming, Miss Quinlan.  Very soon, I’m afraid.”