The story goes, a secret dungeon was found in 1883 behind a secret wall in the back of the fort. Two skeletons were found shackled to the wall and were identified as one man and one woman. Rumors of a secret love affair between a Colonel's wife and a captain blossomed. When the colonel found out, he had them chained to a wall in the bowels of the Castillo and walled them up alive. Were the long lost lovers found that day?
Maybe not. But it makes for a good creepy story, right? I've visited the Castillo many times over the years and I've been in the very room which is dubbed "the lover's dungeon" and have never seen this story or heard it from tour guides. There's a lot of haunted history pages online which speak to its truth but it seems like there isn't any true evidence of this secret dungeon.
The Castillo de San Marcos, however, was used as a prison for a long portion of its history. Many Native Americans were imprisoned there in 1875. Many people died at the Castillo, regardless of the lover's rumor being true or not.
This haunted history makes it the perfect place for my upcomong paranormal thriller. Jeffrey Raines, Death's bounty hunter. visits this very fort during the first several chapters of my book. I couldn't think of a better backdrop than this. The Castillo is an amazing structure which is well worth a visit if you are ever in St. Augustine, Florida. And if you've heard the story of the lover's dungeon, I'd love to get your take in the comments below. Do you think the story is true?
Have you been to the above location? I have. It's called Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Do you know who else has been there? A particular spirit named Jeffrey Raines. If you don't know about Jeffrey, let me give you a little info.
Jeffrey Raines is the main protagonist of my upcoming paranormal thriller book. He works for Death as her bounty hunter. He reaps souls that wander the Earth and prey on the living. His travels will take him to many locations. This is just but one place he will visit in the book.
Flagler College is gorgeous. It started as a Hotel in 1888, built by Henry Flagler. It was a luxury hotel for the wealthy. Back then, it was known as the Ponce de Leon Hotel. Words really cannot do this place justice. It's beautiful. If you find yourself visiting St. Augustine, do yourself a favor and take a tour through the building. You won't regret it. Just imagine, staying here in the late 19th century. It must have been jaw dropping back then. Now, it's a beautiful piece of history in the middle of St Augustine.
And the college serves as a backdrop for my introduction to Jeffrey Raines and the unseen spirit world. I couldn't think of a better place to kick off this series than the oldest established city in America. Check out some more images of Flagler College below. I took them on my last trip out to St. Augustine. And if you want more inside information about my upcoming book, please consider signing up for my monthly newsletter. I will be sharing information, first looks, and more behind the scenes stuff on my newsletter. PLUS get exclusive access to the short story that inspired the book! Click here to join.
Ok, so there's this idea rattling around in my brain that I can't stop thinking about. It's a new character, a new book, and a whole new series. I'm not going to be dropping all of the details right now. However, next month's newsletter will be packed with a lot more information. So, if you want to learn more then please consider signing up! You can click here to sign up.
What I will tell you is the character is named Jeffrey Raines. I held a contest a couple months back to help me pick the last name and Raines was the winner. Jeffrey Raines is a southerner with an interesting job. What is that job? You'll have to subscribe to find that out early. But I will tell you, it does center around the paranormal. And no, he's not a paranormal investigator.
I am so excited to start writing this book. The story is already planned and there's so much excitement building up over the details. You're going to want to read this book. If you're into thrillers, the supernatural, and everything in-between then you're going to love it. I will end this on a cliffhanger as well. Jeffrey Raines is dead....
To learn more about this upcoming series, sign up for my monthly newsletter now!
How would you like to name a character in one of my upcoming books? Or, at least, half of a name? You see, I need a last name for a character and I figured I could ask you guys for help. In the comments, shout out some ideas for last names and I'll pick my favorite. And to make it extra special, whoever has the winning last name will get their name mentioned in the acknowledgment section of said book. Also, I'll send you a free copy when the book publishes. But that could be a while from now so don't forget!
Here's a little insight on the character, or as much as I can give right now. He's a man named Jeffrey and he's from the Southern United States. He comes from a sketchy past and kills for a living. That's as much as I can give you. Have fun and good luck.
After you've eaten all the turkey and stuffing you can handle and you've listened to Uncle Jimmy's story about how he "used to be a star athlete until the stupid injury" for the millionth time, why not get excited for my sale? This Black Friday through Cyber Monday is going to be great!
From Friday to Monday, all my eBooks will be .99 cents each! That means, you can get all 5 of my published books for less than $5! Why spend Black Friday rushing around for the deals you don't want when the one you do is right here?
Also, don't forget about my Black Friday giveaway. You can win autographed paperback copies by simply signing up for my newsletter here. One lucky winner will receive all 5 of my published books, signed, and delivered to their door! It's going to be a great weekend. Don't miss out!
I'm giving you a reason to Fear the End of Year. My upcoming horror novel is now available for pre-order and its release date is 12-31-2018. That's right, New Year's Eve. You can bring in the new year right, with a good book. And there's a special promotion going on as well. The pre-order price is only .99. If pre-ordering isn't your thing, then pick it up the first week of January, the 1st thru the 7th, and you'll only pay $1.99! After that, the regular price will be $2.99. How can you pass up those deals? Pre-order now while you still can!
If you need help remembering what this book is about, check out the description below:
For Sasha, leaving her abusive husband was almost as hard as living with him. He drinks, beats, and apologizes every day. She was stuck in an endless loop of abuse and regret. Some days she thought about giving up and ending her own life. Though, she couldn’t leave her daughter with that monster.
One day, she left and took her daughter Tara to a small town in Maine called Carlisle. The locals seemed cherry, friendly, and helpful. A typical New England small town. The fresh air and change of environment would be exactly what she and her daughter would need to start a new life. That is until a murderer begins claiming lives and the town becomes suspicious of Sasha. Consumed with fear, the town takes matters into their own hands and Sasha finds herself in a struggle for her life and the life of her daughter. Welcome to Carlisle, Maine. Our Lands Whisper with the Echoes of the Past.
Just in time for the holidays, I now have autographed copies available for purchase straight from my website. How cool is that? If you're looking for a great gift for the reader in your life, or maybe for yourself, click here and pick yourself up a copy. And guess what? You can even personalize it! Cool, right? I know!
The paperbacks are priced at $18 (except for Getaway which is only $12) which includes the autograph and shipping. Not a bad deal! Get your Christmas shipping done early this year and check out my store!
Seeing as how this book is coming out later this year, I figure it's time to share the book cover with you. Before I do, let me give you a quick synopsis on the story:
Sasha and her daughter Tara move to the small town of Carlisle, Maine. It's a small and quaint little place where everyone knows everybody. Being from the city, Sasha feels out of place but knows the change is good. Escaping an abusive relationship, she thinks the small town life will be good for her and her daughter. The change is short lived, however, when people in town start dying and all fingers point to Sasha. Fear consumes the town of Carlisle and Sasha finds herself being accused of murder and, of all things, witchcraft. Have the echoes of the past come back to consume Sasha or is there something more sinister happening within its borders?
Now that you know the plot, I think you might be ready for the cover. What do you think? Yes? I thought you might say that. Alright. Let's not delay this any further. I give you, the book cover for my upcoming horror novella Echoes of the Past.
There you have it. What do you think? Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below and I hope you will pick up your copy when it's released. The pre-order will be available soon and I'll be sure to let everyone know when it is. Until then, keep wandering. Just not alone.
Australia. A beautiful country of nature and culture unlike most other places on the planet. There's an endless list of snakes (that can kill you), aquatic life (that can kill you), spiders (that can kill you), and countless other things (that can probably kill you). It's no secret the outback can be a dangerous place. No, I'm not talking about the steakhouse. Although, that can be dangerous too. Don't take your Australian friends there to impress them. They will not be.
With the myriad of animals that can murder a human being which reside in the land down under, it should come as no surprise that a mountain is gunning for the job as well. I'm talking about a place called Black Mountain, a.k.a. Death Mountain, a.k.a. Kalkajaka. No, that last word isn't a planet in Star Wars. It's an aboriginal word which means "place of Spear". See, I told you, the mountain is hungry for violence.
All joking aside, Black Mountain is a fascinating, yet dangerous place. It's part of a protected national park, south west of Cooktown. The mountain is made up of granite boulders. Some of these boulders are the size of houses. If you haven't guessed already, they are black. Hence the name, Black Mountain. There's a lack of soil between the rocks which means there's a labyrinth of gaps and tunnels. I wouldn't recommend venturing into them, however. You probably won't make it out alive.
The rocks get extremely hot in the Australian sun. Over time, the cold rains can make the rocks crack or dissolve. Sometimes, they even explode violently, causing the rocks to shift and slide. If you're inside a chasm when that happens, you probably won't be coming back out.
Many people have gone missing around the mountain, which is why it earned the nickname Mountain of Death. Most likely, people have tried venturing inside some of the gaps and never made it back out. Others claim it's because it's a portal to another dimension, an alien artifact, or government conspiracy. Whatever the case, people have died and some have gone missing.
Something else I learned about Black Mountain, recently, really fascinated me. The volcanic rocks resonate in a particular pitch when struck together. The tone seems to be B flat. There's a cosmic entity that also emits a tone of B flat in our universe. The Black Hole. No, I'm not saying there's a black hole at the center of Black Mountain. But it's interesting to think of the connections of nature.
I'd suggest looking up Black Mountain. It's a very interesting place with a lot of history. I've merely scratched the surface for you today. However, there is one more thing I'd like to share concerning the mountain. It is going to be featured in an upcoming novel of mine. Not just any novel, either but my sci-fi debut novel. There's not a lot of details I can share right now but I think you're going to love this one.
If you like what you learned today, share it with a friend. If you haven't liked me on Facebook, followed me Instagram, or followed on Twitter then check me out there as well. You'll find the link to all my social media accounts at the bottom of the page. Also, I'm slowly uploading interesting videos to Youtube regarding my writing and even personal life, so check me out there. If you've read any of my novels, please consider leaving them a review. It's the best way to show recognition to your favorite authors. As always, thanks for reading. Remember, keep wandering. Just not alone.
This October my latest horror novella will be released. It's about to hit the review process and will be available for pre-order sometime in September. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you the first chapter of the book. Hopefully, I can get some honest feedback about this first chapter. Let me know what you like, what you don't like, etc. Just remember, it's not edited yet so don't be too harsh. There's probably grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. Feel free to point them out, though. It will make editing somewhat easier for me. Below, you will find chapter one of my upcoming horror novella, Echoes of the Past:
She remembered the feeling of cold steel pressed firmly against her throat. She remembered the fear of losing everything she had ever loved or cared about. Her daughter, Tara, had flashed through her mind that night. Will he kill her next? She had thought. When her husband was done with his drunken rage, would he turn his attention to their young child? It had been the scariest thought in her mind, even while faced with certain death.
Of course, she hadn’t really believed he would kill her, not on purpose anyway. The knife to her throat had merely been a tactic of fear. But that did not mean he couldn’t accidentally slit her throat. Sasha had finally had enough that night. It had been the beginning of the end.
“Comfortable, sweetheart?” She called out to the backseat for her daughter, doing her best to ignore the memories that always seemed to invade her happiness. Tara told her she was but complained the trip was taking too long. Sasha laughed and said, “I know, honey, but we should be there very soon.”
“But why are we moving so far away?”
“You know why, sweetheart.”
“But I don’t want to leave my life behind.”
“Sometimes we need to do things we don’t want to do. Sometimes we have to.”
Tara stopped questioning her mother and returned to playing on the tablet in her lap. She couldn’t see the tears Sasha was quickly wiping away. Hearing her daughter express distain for the move made her feel like the world’s worst mother. She was being uprooted from her life, from the only house she had ever known. All of her friends would become distant memories. It was upsetting for a girl of nine. Hell, it was upsetting for a woman of thirty-seven. But it was necessary.
No one knew where they were going, not even Sasha’s own mother. She had been aware of the abuse at the end. In fact, it had been her idea for Sasha to leave. “Don’t tell anyone where you’re going,” her mother had instructed. “It’s best if we not know.”
Sasha had taken her mother’s advice and loaded a small trailer with anything that would fit. Taking Tara, they headed off to a small, New England town that barely showed up on any maps she could get her hands on. It felt as far off the grid as she could possibly be without living off the land like some sort of doomsday prepper.
A brown sign appeared on the side of the road slightly obscured by a long hanging tree, it’s leaves turning the beautiful golden colors of fall. It read, Welcome to Carlisle, Maine. Est. 1692 Our Land Echoes with the Whispers of the Past.
The quote on the sign had been oddly beautiful. It was a poetic notion that only the early settlers of the country could have possibly written. It inspired her to learn the town history. She made a mental note to learn as much as she could after they were safely unpacked and established in the small town.
It had actually been mere coincidence she had found this place. When she had planned to run away with Tara, she had called several real estate agents miles from where they lived. None could fit her hardly existent budget. Many had even laughed at her and hung up. Before she could feel defeated, however, she was given a tip to try a real estate company in Maine. Supposedly, their specialty was finding the right house for anyone on any budget. Sasha had been skeptical, realizing how low her budget really was, but had called all the same.
The overly excited man nearly talked her ear all the way down to the floor. He would not shut up about the beautiful country side and how gorgeous Maine was. Finally, he told her of a small house, more like a cottage really, in a small town in Maine. Without much hesitation, Sasha had said she’d take it.
“Don’t you want to see it first?” The man had asked. But it didn’t much matter what it looked like. Sasha knew a God send when she saw one. This was her opportunity to leave her old life behind.
As the town rose into view, Sasha slipped a Xanax into her mouth and swallowed it dry. The thought of meeting everyone and explaining where she had come from, what little she could really share, did nothing for her stress levels. When she had told her psychiatrist about the move, she had prescribed extra medicine, on top of the two pills she had to take daily for her depression. Psychiatrist sure loved their pills but they worked so Sasha did not complain.
“Mommy, are we here?” Tara asked, placing the tablet in the seat next to her. Sasha nodded at her through the rearview mirror. She could see pure happiness in her daughter’s eyes. Not because she was excited to start her new life, but because being trapped in the back seat of a small car was torture on a child.
Sasha pulled into the driveway and stared at her new home. It was small. Well, small was putting it mildly. The whole building could have fit inside a studio apartment. But what it lacked in indoor space it more than made up for with the yard. The backyard stretched for several yards before disappearing into the surrounding forest. A Thomas Kinkade painting came to mind as she stared at the cottage. Despite it’s size, it felt perfect.
Right on cue, Tara tore off into the house and bolted inside. Clearly, she was excited to see which room would be hers. Sasha smiled and hoped there were other little girls in the town her daughter could get to know. She would desperately need a friend.
She spent the next couple hours unloading the trailer. There wasn’t much to unload and, lucky for her, the cottage had already been furnished. The furniture was old and rickety but it would work. There wasn’t a television anywhere in sight but she felt they could live without one for a while.
As she unpacked a box in the kitchen, a knock came at the door. Sasha knew it must be the inevitable neighbor greeting and put on her best fake smile. She pulled the door open and smiled at the seemingly cheerful woman on her doorstep.
“Hello there, you must be the new lady.” Her New England accent was thick but Sasha didn’t mind.
“That’s me. My name’s Sasha,” she said, proffering her hand. The woman shook her hand and gave her a smile.
“Gwen,” she responded. Spotting Tara on the couch, she said “Well, hello there little one. What’s your name?”
“Tara,” she said with a frown.
“What’s wrong, dear?”
Tara shrugged and motioned to her tablet. “I can’t get the internet to work.”
“We don’t have a very good signal out here. It’s best if you use a landline if you want to make phone calls or get online. It’s tough on the young ones but it’s how it is.”
Sasha smiled. “I’ll be sure to get that set up. Wouldn’t want her getting bored at her. Not that there’s much to be bored with,” she nervously back peddled on her words, afraid she had offended the woman. “It’s such a lovely town and the view is amazing.”
“Yes, it really is. Well, I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood. If you ever need anything, I’m the next house down. It’s a bit of hike but a nice one. You two should come to the town center tomorrow evening and introduce yourselves. We’re having a nice little fall festival.”
“That sounds wonderful,” Sasha said, though she wasn’t sure if she meant it. Gwen smiled and said her good-byes. Seconds later, her and Tara were alone in their cozy little cottage once again. Things seemed to be going better than Sasha had expected. Her neighbors seemed friendly enough, at least one did. Not that it mattered to Sasha. She did not plan to become a social member of her newfound society. Her depression made it hard to want to get out and make friends. Considering her situation, she wasn’t overly willing to push through her feelings.
But she wondered if it would be good for Tara to get out and meet the people of the town. Maybe there would be some kids she could befriend. She would need them now more than ever. The decision seemed harder than it needed to be and the right choice should have been obvious to her. As always, she doubted and second guessed her own decisions. If she went, she’d spend the whole time wondering if she had said the wrong thing or made herself look foolish. If she didn’t go, she would become paranoid of what the town thought of her. Either way, she couldn’t win. In the end, she had to think going was the better decision.
“Hey, Tara.” She looked at her beautiful daughter sitting on the couch with a frown on her face. “You want to meet everyone tomorrow at a festival?” Tara shrugged. “It might be fun. You might meet a friend there. Maybe even a boyfriend.”
Tara giggled. “Ew, I don’t want a boyfriend.”
Sasha smiled at her daughter’s innocence, knowing one day it would vanish. She wasn’t looking forward to those days and she prayed like hell she never developed the same disorder as her mother. Tara was too precious to suffer such debilitating thoughts. She deserved everything the world had to offer and should never experience pain like Sasha had endured through her life.
A wave of emotion crashed over her like a rogue wave over the bow of a ship. She could feel herself sinking into the low pit of anguish and despair. It was nearly impossible to fight but she had to for the sake of her daughter. Tara did not need to see her mom in a heap on the floor with endless streams of tears in her eyes. Sasha did her best to fight back the feeling and eventually made her way into the bathroom, an unpacked box in hand, with the excuse she needed to unpack.
Once the door was shut, she collapsed on the floor and everything flooded out of her at once. The situation she now found herself had caught up, the thought of her ex-husband, and uprooting her daughter’s life all flowed through her mind. It was like a projector showing all of her mistakes and she could not power it down.
A memory of her husband breaking a beer bottle on the wall and forcing her to have sex with him sprung up. It made her feel disgusting and pathetic. She remembered being forced face down on the bed as he had his way with her. Sasha watched the foul smelling liquid drip down the wall until it was all over. When he was finished, he told her to clean up the mess. Even now, she was unsure if he had meant the glass bottle and beer stained wall or the disgusting substance his small member had left behind. Either way, she did both.
The memory only made her cry more. Even after everything that had happened between now and then, she still felt as if she had deserved it. After all, he would complain she didn’t give it up enough. She always had some excuse. He was sexually frustrated, which is why he broke the bottle and forced himself upon her. They were married, rape wasn’t possible. At least, it was what he had said when he found her crying about the incident the next morning.
“You know how I can get when I drink. Mix that together with sexual frustration and…” She remembered him trailing off. Or maybe she had stopped listening. All she could remember was it being the beginning of the end. It was the first time she had thought about hurting him, in self-defense of course. He did, on occasion, threaten her with a knife, or hammer, or whatever he had been holding in the moment. She would have been well within her right to protect herself.
Composing herself, Sasha sat up on the bathroom floor. The spiraling, it seemed, had come to an end. But these things always had a way of sneaking back up on her when she least suspected it. A tiny knock came at the door and Sasha jumped to her feet.
"Mommy, I have to pee."
"Alright, honey, just a second."
Making sure nothing was out of place with her hair and make-up, not wanting her daughter to think something was wrong, Sasha pulled open the bathroom door and smiled. "All yours" she said and headed off into the living room to unpack the remainder of the boxes.
To cover up his search history, Evan Bond is a thriller/suspense author. As an outdoor enthusiast and horror lover, Evan Bond enjoys writing stories where the two come together. He lives in Florida with his wife and two sons.