I am very happy to announce that The Owlmen is now out! Ahead of schedule, both the Kindle and paperback are now available on amazon. The direct links are on the main page but here they are for the UK and USA respectively : http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079W9FKV7 and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B079W9FKV7
Although The Owlmen can be read as a standalone novel, it would also make a good follow-up to the Father of Lies trilogy, if you have read it. Here's a synopsis, and following that I've included an exclusive snippet from further on in the novel, where Ellie has moved into Tanners Dell. See what you think.... I have to say I've had a terrific time writing this (and a few nightmares), with lots of help from a traditional witch, who's based in North America - thank you to Raven Wood. Anyway, if you think you're brave enough....because this is pure occult horror....cackles...here goes...
Ellie Blake is recovering from a nervous breakdown. Deciding to move back to her northern roots, she and her psychiatrist husband buy Tanners Dell at auction - an old water mill in the moorland village of Bridesmoor. However, there is disquiet in the village. Tanners Dell has a terrible secret, one so well guarded no one speaks its name. But in her search for meaning and very much alone, Ellie is drawn to traditional witchcraft and determined to pursue it. All her life she has been cowed. All her life she has apologised for her very existence. And witchcraft has opened a door she could never have imagined. Imbued with power and overawed with its magick, for the first time she feels she has come home, truly knows who she is. Tanners Dell though, with its centuries old demonic history...well, it's a dangerous place for a novice...
'She told herself this was just an old place that had been riddled with damp for a long, long time. No wonder new timber cracked and groaned, pipes shuddered in the ancient stone walls, and the stench of decay lingered on the air. So still, though. Glacially silent. Occasionally, when deep in thought or involved in reading, the silence would be broken by fast whispers that ceased sharply the moment she looked up. Sometimes it was like the sound of children’s laughter carrying on a breeze.
Absent-mindedly she began to bite her nails or yank out eyelashes while reading. Sleep was fitful too, the dreams bizarre. It started within days of moving in. Seb slept on undisturbed, so it must be her own anxiety, depression, or perhaps subconscious mind trying to make sense of the reading material she devoured each day...Wasn’t it? Because at 0100 hours precisely she had begun to lurch awake with a thump of dread, convinced a dark, hooded shape like that of a monk, was standing in the far corner of the bedroom. Propped up on her elbows she stared into the dark until her eyes burned, fatigue eventually forcing her to slump down again. Anxiety. A new place. New bedroom. The monster in her head playing tricks again…Had to be…
Easy to explain away at seven the next day with the sun up and the radio playing downstairs.
Except that it was happening every night and getting worse. The conviction grew that the presence was growing not only in size but in the intensity of its blackness, burgeoning like a rain cloud brooding for a storm. Now and then a streak of moonlight would pick out the silhouette of what appeared to be a man’s face under the hood, but just at the point where her eyes adjusted and began to widen with horror, his form would dissolve into shadows, and once again she dismissed it as a figment of her imagination. Hope perhaps, over experience?
One night, waking in a state of extreme panic and filled with the most unaccountable foreboding, she flew from the bed and tore downstairs, bursting out onto the starlit lawn with her heart hammering like an anvil. Get out…get out…get out…. For a good twenty minutes she stood outside in her nightdress until the terror subsided. And all the while Seb slept soundly on. Same house. Same bedroom. This was crazy. It had been a nightmare, that was all, and no wonder after all she’d been through...
No, there’s something in there…there is….And you know it!
In the chilly dawn air a fox barked, and the mechanical whirr of a nightjar echoed through the woods. Dew permeated the soles of her feet until shivering and damp, she forced herself to turn around and walk back to the house. Quite what made her glance up at the bedroom window, she couldn’t say….but what she saw there snatched the breath from her lungs. Watching from the room where she’d just been sleeping was the white blur of a face. Although it was too dark to decipher either features or expression, Ellie stood transfixed, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. A girl or young woman…frail…small-boned…was looking straight at her…the vision already fading into the dark glass.
Next day she upped her dose of anti-depressants.'
Well, I hope you enjoy what you've read... and if you can come to the launch party on FB on Friday night - 7pm - it's hosted by Sarah Kenny and there will be lots of prizes and signed copies to win! Thank you for reading... I really hope you like the book!