Fort Matanzas in St. Augustine, Florida. Named after the river it stands guard over. Fun fact, the Matanzas river gets its name from the Spanish word meaning killings or slaughters because several Protestants were shipwrecked in the 18th century and executed on the spot by Spanish Admiral Pedro Mendez. Seems like a fitting place for spirits to hang out, doesn't it?
Fort Matanzas was built by the Spanish in order to control the Matanzas inlet. The inlet was a rear entrance into the city of St. Augustine. The fort was only used once. It fired warning shots to scare away British scouting boats. The twelve ship armada turned around and never attacked the fort. Shots were never fired from Fort Matanzas again. Despite not having seen a lot of action, the small fort is a pretty interesting sight to see in St. Augustine.
First of all, the admission if FREE so you can't beat that. The only way to get to the fort is by boat which the park rangers graciously provide transport back and forth to. So, best to tip them if you go. Once on the little island which houses the fort, you get the real sense of what it must have been like to be stationed there. Out in the middle of seemingly no where on a river with no communication to the world around you. It's almost impossible to imagine.
Jeffrey Raines spends some time at this very structure in the opening chapters of my upcoming paranormal thriller. He's there to fight off a wandering spirit as Death's bounty hunter. A certain type of spirit which likes to hide in lonely places such as this has started to prey on the park rangers there. Jeffrey is ordered to put a stop to it. Of course, I won't tell you how the scene plays out or how it ends. You'll have to read the book when it comes out!
If you decide to visit St. Augustine and you love history, check this place out. It's a cool piece of history. Not to mention, you'll literally be stepping into the pages of my book! Stay tuned for more information about this book coming soon! And if you want to read the opening chapter of the book, please consider signing up for my monthly newsletter. This month, readers will get an exclusive look at the first chapter! Not available anywhere else. Click below to sign up. And enjoy these photos I took of Fort Matanzas on my last adventure there!
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.
Happy holidays to you all. Today is Christmas Eve, for those who celebrate, and I thought it would be nice to give you a short break. You're probably hard at work cleaning the house before guests arrive. Or maybe you're wrapping last minute presents. Whatever you're doing, take a short break and take a short read. I've got something fun for you today.
As you may know, my upcoming novel Deserted is about a group of urban explorers who get trapped in an evil, abandoned town. They don't know what, or whom, to trust as they look for a way to escape. But what you might not know is, the book was inspired by a real trip to some abandoned places with my good friend, Josh.
Pictured below is the actual abandoned neighborhood we were visiting when the idea sprouted. It was an eerie and interesting place to be. A whole neighborhood had simply up and left. It was like something straight out of The Walking Dead. Every minute we spent there, I thought I might see a zombie shamble around the corner.
As we explored, which you can find video of over on his YouTube channel here, we started talking about how creepy it would be if something terrible happened. We joked how crazy it would be if we left the neighborhood and went to lunch, only to find ourselves magically back at the neighborhood and unable to leave, much like the movie 1408. And the idea was planted in my mind.
As you can see above, we found a door riddled with bullet holes. Nothing more than bored gun owners out for target practice. But our imaginations turned it into what if questions. What if something was loose in the neighborhood? What if they were trying to keep something out? What if there was some creature stalking the place? We had a lot of fun with that.
But that wasn't the only abandoned place Josh and I explored which helped fuel the fire for this book. Possibly my favorite place was an abandoned apartment building on the water. It was beautiful and relaxing. Not good material for a suspense novel, I know. But it did help me get into the mindset of urban explorers and, in fact, inspired the opening scene.
Without giving too much away, in the first couple chapters of my book the urban explorers are on the roof of an abandoned hospital. The roof is crumbling and dangerous. However, the two carry forward. One of them falls through the roof and nearly to their death but manage to climb back up.
Now, neither of us fell through the floor at the above location. However, Josh did make it to the roof while I stayed on the ground and I started to wonder what would happen if he fell through the roof or the floor? How would I get to him to help? What would I do? And thus, the scene was born. If you want to see more footage of the abandoned apartment building, check that out here.
Both days were amazing adventures and I was so glad to be a part of them. I can't thank Josh enough for allowing me to tag along and helping to inspire the idea that is becoming Deserted. I'm still writing the book but it will be available to read next year. I promise you that. If you want to be informed on its progress and when it will be available, consider signing up for my newsletter here.
I'll let you get back to your preparations for Christmas now. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the journey. Because that's what life is, a journey. And sometimes you have to explore a little and move out of your comfort zone in order to make something special. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
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.
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.