Upcoming releases and secret plans of J. Kent Holloway

So, it’s been a while since I last posted on here. The last post was part two of telling you all about the house I grew up in. I thought about continuing on and talking about possible theories regarding ghosts and hauntings, etc., but to be honest…because no one really responded to those posts, I wasn’t sure how interested you guys were so I decided to move on [I really do read your comments, so when no one leaves one, I don't know what you think or what you want me to focus on. Comments really do help me adapt this blog to best serve you]. That being said, I have had several emails lately wondering when my next ENIGMA Directive book is coming out. So, I thought I’d take this week’s blog post to tell you what I have coming up…and what I’m planning to write in the foreseeable future. And yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. :)

Well, to my ENIGMA Directive fans, you may be disappointed in this next bit of news, but there’s been a delay in the third book currently entitled DEVIL’S CHILD. I’ll get to the progress in that book in a bit (as well as why there’s a delay and the expected release date). For now, let me tell you about my next scheduled release.  

THE DJINN

In early 2012, I will be releasing my next thriller entitled THE DJINN. This historical adventure is actually the first novel I ever attempted to write. Way back in 2005, when I decided to try my hand at professional writing, this was the book I wrote. And like so many first attempts, I was just never satisfied with it.

That is…until I was struck with an idea for the story a few months ago that would totally make this one of my favorite books I’ve ever written. What can I say? I was struck in the head by my muse and I had to return to it…had to revise it…had to finish this great tale. And that is the reason for the delay of DEVIL’S CHILD.

So, what is THE DJINN about? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Set in the last years of the second Crusade in Jerusalem, Baron Gregory L’Ombre is seeking two relics of unimaginable power…two objects that would imbue the ambitious baron with the ability to know the very thoughts of his greatest enemies. Two biblical artifacts that would give him complete omniscience.

And that’s not the worst of it. The discovery of these objects would also bring about the destruction of thousands of innocent people.

But Gregory’s quest is not without problems. He and his men are being hunted…perhaps haunted…by a creature of smoke and shadow. A being straight from Saracen myth and legend. A spirit of vengeance for those who are evil and an angel of protection for those who are powerless. A creature the locals call the Djinn.

This tale of high adventure is a tip of the hat to pulp icons such as the Shadow, Zorro, and even Batman. A hero that uses the psychology of fear, science, and intellect to do what must be done.

So, if this sounds interesting to you…be on the lookout for it early 2012!

DEVIL’S CHILD

But for the fans of the wisecracking cryptozoologist Dr. Obadiah “Jack” Jackson and The ENIGMA Directive series…have no fear! This is where I tell you what’s going on with DEVIL’S CHILD. The third book in the series is almost halfway finished. And between you and me, it’s by far the best book in the series. Trust me on this…I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

And when you read it, I truly hope you will think it was well worth the wait. But here’s the reason behind attacking THE DJINN before completing DEVIL’S CHILD…it’s all about the muse. Since becoming serious about writing, I’ve learned one or two things about the profession. One of those things is: don’t tick off your muse! If she storms off, there’s no telling when she’ll be back! Haha! So when my muse hit with how I can fix the problems I was having with the first novel I had ever written, I knew I absolutely had to go back to it. To deny those ideas might jeopardize both books. After all, if my heart was yearning to tackle THE DJINN, I would struggle to write DEVIL’S CHILD…and neither book would turn out the way I hoped.

But as I’ve already stated…the good news is that I’m more than halfway finished with this book. And it’s so much fun!!! In DEVIL’S CHILD, Jack is contacted by a childhood pal who had been commissioned to hunt a horrendous beast stalking the skyline of New York City. Jack’s friend, one of the best big game hunters in the world, is horribly attacked and mauled by a creature that he can only describe as “the devil himself.” Other witnesses have described the creature as something like a giant bat or a gargoyle come to life from one of the Gothic buildings in Manhatten. But Jack has heard these stories before. He begins to suspect the creature is none other than the Jersey Devil.

He and his team begin investigating…scouring the concrete jungle of New York…in an attempt to discover why the beast, who typically lives peacefully in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, is stalking the Big Apple and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. The answers they discover trace all the way back to the colonial era and may very well shake the foundation of everything Jack believes in.

Sound good? Excited about it? Well, have no fear. I don’t anticipate delaying this release very long. DEVIL’S CHILD should be available around late spring or early summer 2012.

THE DIRGE OF BRIARSNARE MARSH (A DARK HOLLOWS MYSTERY)

Though many have yet to discover THE CURSE OF ONE-EYED JACK, book one of the Dark Hollows series, those who have read it tell me it’s my best writing to date with the most interesting characters I’ve ever developed. I tend to agree with them. To be honest…I absolutely love Ezekiel Crane and his dark, mysterious Appalachian world. I love the dichotomy between mountain magic and science. I adore the “Little People” who may or may not reside just on the periphery of the community of Boone Creek, Kentucky. And quite frankly, I love the fact that you’re just not quite sure what Crane is up to. He’s a bit like Pendergast in that way, which makes him doubly intriguing.

You might be thinking, “Wow. This guy is full of himself. He’s really praising his own work!” But the fact is, I have no qualms at all about talking so highly about this book because it truly is the type of paranormal mystery that I love. It’s why I wrote it, after all. Well, that and because of my muse. Let me go on record as saying this: Anything that is good about ONE-EYED JACK is because of my muse. Anything that stinks about it is because of me. Sound a bit more modest? Well, it’s absolutely true.

And the good news is that my muse has definitely been working on overdrive to provide the story for book 2 of the Dark Hollows series…a book that I’ll be calling THE DIRGE OF BRIARSNARE MARSH. It’s a story that I’ve been concocting since before the first book was written actually…the first series that I’ve truly planned out in advance (to some degree). One of the major complaints I’ve heard about ONE-EYED JACK was the abrupt way in which the book ended (with so many loose ends that remained untied at the close of the last page). Well, to those critics, please understand…it was completely intentional.

You see, the Dark Hollows Mysteries is truly not a series of separate books with separate mysteries, but rather one continuous mystery that will unravel through the course of the series. Granted, each book will have its own unique mystery to solve, but it’s all related to the major conundrum plaguing our intrepid seventh son of a seventh son.

To prove my point, THE DIRGE OF BRIARSNARE MARSH actually takes place only a week after the events of THE CURSE OF ONE-EYED JACK. Kili is still there, recovering from her ordeal. The missing people are still missing. And now, even worse, bodies have begun disappearing from the local morgue and cemetery…only to be seen on occasion by loved ones…walking around of their own accord. But everyone knows there ain’t no such thing as zombies. So Ezekiel Crane and Kili begin investigating what’s going on and the  journey leads them down the dark path of Crane’s own past. The question is: are either of them prepared for what they’ll discover?

So that’s the premise behind the second Dark Hollows novel. As in the first book, nothing is as it seems. If you think you know what’s going to happen, don’t get too excited. It’ll probably go in a whole different direction. I haven’t even started on this one yet. I’m hoping to shoot for a late 2012/early 2013 release for this book. But I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Anyway, those are my plans. I actually have a lot more up my sleeve, but for now, I think that’ll do. Just sort of gave you a taste as to what’s going on with my book plans and that’s what I set out to do. So for now, let me get back to writing and you get back to reading. But before I leave, I have a personal favor to ask you…if you have read and enjoyed any of my books and have not left a review on Amazon, I truly would appreciate you doing so. You have no idea how much those reviews…even the simplest and shortest…can help.

And once again, thank you so much for your continued support. I truly can’t express how much you guys mean to me.

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Let Me Introduce You To…My Childhood Haunted House

[Each week, on my blog (http://kenthollowayonline.blogspot.com), I feature a new author for you to discover and enjoy. Sometimes, my blog isn't featuring a new author, but some little tid bit about writing, publishing, monsters, or ghosts. Whatever strikes my fancy at the moment really. So stay tuned!]

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So, it’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning (well, at least for anyone not living in

Southwood Manor before renovations

Florida). There’s sharp crispness to the air. And the little tykes are dragging mom and dad through the aisles of the local Walmart to pick out what superhero/princess/robot/ninja turtle they want to dress up as on the 31st. And most importantly, awesome ghost stories to share with friends and family. It was this thought in mind that I decided to do something a little different on my blog this year [last year, I shared an original zombie-awesome short story I wrote starring Ash from the Evil Dead movies]…this year, we’re going to talk about ghosts and haunted houses for the better part of the month. I’ll be sharing stories from people all over the world of their own paranormal experiences and providing theories that might just explain what these encounters really are. But tonight…I thought I’d start closer to home. Tonight, I thought I’d share with you the legends of Southwood Manor, the home in which I grew up in Burnside, Kentucky. A house shrouded in death and mystery…of dark magic and curses…and yes, perhaps even a few ghosts.

Tell me this place isn't haunted!

My parents bought Southwood Manor back in 1976. I would have been five years old at the time. I’ll never forget the first time my eyes looked at that rundown old house. I’ll never forget the rhythm of my heartbeat as my Zips-clad foot stepped into the foyer for the very first time. I’ll never forget the feeling of dread and exhilaration as I explored the numerous rooms inside the house. And that was only the beginning…

I lived there for about seven years and during that time, I can’t even begin to count the number of weird occurrences that happened. Simple things like noises and voices in the night were the most common. Occasionally, a brief apparition was seen by friends, family, and pest control people. And on more than one occasion, objects would be moved in the house when we returned home from school or work…objects arranged in the most sinister of patterns (I’ll share more about this in a bit). But before I go into detail about the spooky things that walked up those creaky stairs at night, I should first tell you a little bit about the history about the house (or perhaps legend. I’m not really sure).

It was built in the late 1800s by Mr. Charles Southwood. In the way that legends often work, he is said to have built the house for the love of his life…the woman he intended to marry. So what happens next, you may be asking? Come on…do you really need to ask? Of course, the story goes that the woman eventually refuses to marry him. Breaks his heart and [no, to my knowledge, he doesn't die there or anything] he simply sells the place off. The house is passed on through a few different hands. Details on these other owners are fuzzy, but we know of at least one mysterious death…of a woman…in an old fashioned claw foot tub. The same tub my parents used to have me take baths in, I might add [Is there a statute of limitations on ghostly child abuse? Ha!]. Then, in the early 60s, the house came into the ownership of…. Mr. Todd.

I honestly do shudder every time I think of that man. From the stories I’ve heard, there is

Southwood Manor after renovations...still looks spooky!

probably not a more sinister human being to ever walk on God’s green earth…of course, once again, distinguishing legend from history is the tricky part, right? Anyway, Mr. Todd. Where do I begin with him? How about the part where he practiced black magic? Or perhaps the police raid of his house where they found a casket in the parlor where he is said to sleep from time to time…or the shrunken heads that hung from the ceiling in what would one day become our formal dining room? How about the stories of curses placed on locals that crossed the old man? Or the marijuana crop he was growing upstairs in a room lined with tin foil? How about the rumors of inappropriate contact with children in the neighborhood? So many things to share about Mr. Todd. But remember those shrunken heads? Guess how Mr. Todd died. That’s right. He was in a car crash…and when they pulled his remains from the crumpled heap of scrap metal they discovered that he had been beheaded. Rather ironic, wouldn’t you say?

Anyway, soon after the death of Mr. Todd, the house was put up for sale once more. My parents purchased it for an amazingly low price (around $6000 total) and we had moved in by 1977. Of course, it took about two or three years for my parents, grandparents, and their friends to whip the place into the beautiful home it would eventually become. And during that time, some of the strangest things began happening.

Objects would move unseen. For instance, a wooden barrel filled with nails mysteriously moved from one corner of a particular room to another. This happened after my dad and his friend had left the room for only a few minutes. No one had entered. No one was around to move the barrel (it would have actually taken two strong people to move this barrel from what I was told). This, I believe, was the beginning of the series of strange events that we would encounter over the years. Strange black lights of unknown origin would flash in certain sections of the house was common occurrence. These lights could actually be seen from the exterior windows from the street and often, neighbors would inquire about what the lights were. We, having been in the house at the time of the lights, would have seen nothing.

Another common occurrence were the footsteps up the front stairs. At Southwood, there were two sets of stairs…front and back. My bedroom was located right across from the front stairs. There were thirteen steps in all…a strange number given the superstitious times in which the house was built, to be sure. Often, at night, when I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I would listen to the silence. The deafening silence. And then…I would hear them. The footsteps coming up the stairs. I would lay there, knowing everyone else in the house was in bed, and I would count each step up those rickety steps. It was so clear. So vivid. And when I garnered enough courage to peer over my own bedsheets to look out the door of my bedroom toward the stairs…there would be no one there. Often, these footsteps would be accompanied by voices…muffled voices, that sounded eerily like that of a little girl (a girl my parents would eventually come to call Angel). If it wasn’t for the fact that others who stayed in the house heard those voices too, I would think it was the mindgames of an over-imaginative child. But sure enough…others heard those voices too. And the footsteps.

But those aren’t the strangest occurrences at the old Southwood house. There were much darker, sinister things afoot. Warnings, perhaps. Messages. And a great deal of fear. But unfortunately, these things will have to wait until my next post. Next week, I will continue the saga of Southwood Manor…the first haunted house I was ever exposed to. Trust me…you won’t want to miss it.

 

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Welcome to my blog

[Each week, on my blog (http://kenthollowayonline.blogspot.com), I feature a new author for you to discover and enjoy. Sometimes, my blog isn't featuring a new author, but some little tid bit about writing, publishing, monsters, or ghosts. Whatever strikes my fancy at the moment really. So stay tuned!]

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO…JACK SCOTT

I think it’s safe to say that most people who read this blog knows that I’m not usually big on non-fiction or “true stories”. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just that true stories typically have to do with someone overcoming something. Or coming to terms with something. Or basically, just dealing with some uber depressing obstacle we all face. You know…real life stuff. But when I read, I want to escape “real life”. I want to go where the impossible happens. I want to explore undiscovered countries, battle terrific beasts, and hear someone shout, “Here, there be monsters!” That’s what I look for in a good book. So when I heard that an author in my own home town of St. Augustine, Florida had written a novel based on a true story, I was just a tad skeptical that I’d be interested. After all, true stories are boring right?

Well, after reading about Jack Scott and his novel “Cayman Cross”, I realized that I just couldn’t be more wrong! This story, based on actual events that took place in the Caribbean in 1922 has just about everything I look for in a good novel: swashbuckling adventure, murder on the high seas, and…PIRATES!!! That’s right, I said pirates. So, I ask you…how in the world could I NOT love a book that has pirates in it? Especially pirates that existed in a time when we typically don’t expect pirates to exist…the early 20th century. Needless to say, this book is now on my “To Be Read” list and I couldn’t wait to tell you guys about it so you could experience this great story right along with me.

Here’s the product description for the book:

On October 30, 1922, the Cuban Trading Schooner  Juana Mercedes embarked on a journey that would lead her into treachery, piracy and multiple murders.

CAYMAN CROSS is a novel based on the true story of the piracy of the Cuban trading schooner “Juana Mercedes” off the coast of the Cayman Islands. It is a story of conspiracy, multiple murders, mystery and adventure on and in the islands of the Caribbean Sea.

Sounds awesome, right?! A true story, yes…but with action and adventure. And, like I said, pirates. How could you go wrong?

Here’s a brief bio on the author:

The author of CAYMAN CROSS, Allen “Jack” Scott, is a Caymanian-American who claims his heritage from a long line of Cayman Islands sea captains.  He is an attorney and legal mediator by profession, but is also an avid sailor and hunter with a lifelong love of adventure and writing.  He is a graduate of Jacksonville University (B.A.) and the University of Florida (J.D.) and resides with his wife and family in St. Augustine, Florida.

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Jack about the real pirates of the Caribbean (ca. 1922 anyway), writing in general, and a few things in between. Here’s what he had to say:

1) I’ve already posted the book’s back cover copy on my blog, but one thing I always like to ask authors is to describe their book in their own words. What’s it about? Who are some of the characters we’ll get to know when we read it?  

It is easy enough to say that Cayman Cross is a historical novel about the actual piracy of a Cuban trading schooner that took place in 1922.  But that doesn’t begin to tell the story.  This is one of those unusual instances where the true story is more interesting than just fiction.  Cayman Cross is not just another hacknied, swaggering, sword swinging parrot of pirate legend.  It is essentially the story of a handful of sailors and two young deck boys who fell into a tragedy of conspiracy and multiple murders on the high seas.  The players in this drama are more or less ordinary people who encounter extraordinary circumstances through which only a few survived.  Almost as interesting as the story itself, I believe, is the spectacularly beautiful turn of the century Caribbean islands of Cuba, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, where the story played out.  You can get a really good picture of the life and times that I portray by going to my website, http://www.caymancross.com/.

2) This book is based on a true story. What inspired you to write a book about this relatively modern day pirate attack?

My entire Scott family line dates back several centuries in the Cayman Islands.  My father was born in Cayman Brac and I have dual citizenship.  One day a number of years ago I was reading a Cayman Islands history book and happened upon just a few lines about “the last piracy” in the Cayman Islands.  Right then and there I knew I had to research the incident and write about it–the story was just that captivating.  Countless hours of historical research and a fair dash of imagination later, the Cayman Cross piracy turned into a historical novel.  It became my personal contribution to my Cayman heritage.

3) Sounds like a great adventure story. Any adventure on the high seas highlights you might want to share with my readers? Something to whet their appetites?

How about this:

The deafening explosion of gunshots in the small cabin had so shocked and surprised Evans Rivers that he stumbled

backwards and dropped the old Navy Colt from his hand. It clattered loudly on the cabin sole, adding to the noise and confusion.

Eyes wide, Rivers shouted out at the Spaniard: “Pablo!  Mother of God, Pablo!  You have killed him!  What are you doing!”

The Spaniard turned slowly then toward Rivers, his pistol still in his right hand.

“Shut up Rivers!  Shut up!” he shouted back, raising his pistol as if he intended to shoot Rivers as well.

Photo taken from http://www.caymancross.com/

Evans Rivers cowered back into the corner, and then slumped down into a sitting position on the bunk behind him.  He lowered his eyes again to see a pool of dark blood now forming under the body before him, some mixing with the seawater sloshing around on the cabin sole.  He sunk his face in his hands and slowly shook his head.

4) Now, you’re from the Cayman Islands yourself, right? How has growing up in the Caribbean prepared you to write this book?

No, I’m actually the first born American son in a long line of Caymanians.  I actually grew up in northeast Florida and now reside with my wife and family in St. Augustine.  But believe me, I grew up the son of a sea captain in a long line of sea captains, so my youth was steeped in great old stories and legends of seafaring and adventure on the sea.  My Grandfather obviously enjoyed many hours of my wide-eyed attention as he related stories of our pirate ancestors when I was a boy.  Now I almost regret that my family geneology work has proven that although Grandaddy was a great storyteller, he wasn’t much burdened by truth, God rest his salty soul.  Also, I should add that I have family in the Caymans and I have spent a great deal of time there and in many places around the Caribbean.  I love it there, and I think you’ll see that in my novel.

5) I know you just recently released Cayman Cross, but any plans for new books in the future? What projects might you be considering for the future?

I’ve recently developed a real interest in the practice of piracy during American Prohibition.  Most people don’t know

it (I didn’t), but piracy off the American coast was rampant during Prohibition.  You could almost liken it to the modern day Mexican drug wars.  Since liquor was illegal during Prohibition, smuggling and rumrunning became instantly popular occupations.  At the same time, a lot of folks figured out that there were lots of ships full of liquor and money off our coasts that were ripe for picking.  Even better–American law enforcement didn’t care if pirates were robbing and killing rumrunners–after all, the rumrunners were criminals too.  Anyway, my research is now moving me in that direction.

6) Besides writing, what else do you do? Interests? Hobbies?

You probably noticed from my book cover that I’m an attorney.  Actually I have been a lawyer for many years, but I’m also now a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.  That long handle simply means that I work as a court designated “neutral” to conduct pretrial meetings (mediations) with the parties to a lawsuit and their attorneys in an effort to help achieve a mutually acceptable settlement without the necessity of trial.  I have to say that after years of being an advocate, fighting for my clients, it has been a really rewarding change to serve as a neutral mediator trying to bring all the parties and their attorneys to a voluntary settlement short of trial.  As for other interests and hobbies, I’ve always been an outdoorsman.  I love hunting, fishing and watersports of all kinds.  But most of all, as you will see when you read Cayman Cross, I love sailing.

7) One question I ask of every author who is featured on my blog is this: If you could only offer one piece of advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?

As you know, Cayman Cross is my first novel, so I hardly feel qualified to give reliable advice to aspiring writers.  What I can say is that I never could have completed Cayman Cross had I not been completely enthralled by the subject matter.  At times, I actually enjoyed the historical research more than the task of writing.  Personally, I have to believe that absolute dedication to and interest in your subject matter is the key.

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Thank you, Jack, for an amazing interview! We wish you the very best. And friends and readers, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book. You can do so by going to Jack Scott’s website: http://www.caymancross.com/.

 

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