Archive for the Occult Detectives Category

This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part 1 of 5)

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 4, 2018 by Occult Detective

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Part One of Five

EARTH

The magician’s shovel bit deep into the rich, black soil, the sound of overturned earth swallowed by the vast expanse of old-growth forest that surrounded him. He was not alone. There were many eyes upon him for he was an intruder here.

Starbiter wiped sweat from his brow, pulling his weathered hand down across his face to stroke the hoary beard that he had hid behind for so long. It was a mask of sorts, a deceit. It projected an aura of wisdom and learnedness, and while the years behind him measured him so, the road ahead begged hard to differ.

No, one would be hard pressed to see wisdom in his present course.

A crow cawed from overhead, one of the watchful denizens of the ancient wood. The old scholar recalled a rhyme from his childhood. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth,” he muttered. “Three for a funeral and four for birth.” The crow flapped its wings and swooped down off its perch, soaring over Starbiter’s head. “One it is,” the magician spat. He returned to the soil and finished the grim task he had set himself to.

How many graves had he dug in this silent corner of the world? Each was marked by a single stone, never larger than his fist. He made sure it had a flat side to it, and he scratched an appropriate sigil to denote the departed in a significant way.

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He lowered the figure into the ground and covered them, slowly and methodically, reciting that old nursery rhyme over and over, again and again, as he worked. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth,” he sang.

“Five for heaven.”

He brought the flat of his shovel down hard, patting the earth solid.

“Six for hell.” He stabbed the shovel into the ground and took up the flat rock he’d uncovered earlier, and with another stone, he etched the sacred symbol onto it, then lowered it atop the mound of black dirt.

A crow cawed, and then another. Starbiter looked up to the trees over head. A murder of crows had arrived. A procession of mourners perhaps, he mused. He counted them, one by one, then acknowledged the truth of it.

“Seven for the devil, his own self.”

Guy Starbiter brushed off his hands and smiled grimly before beginning the long trek out through the forest to his awaiting Opel Kapitän. Within an hour, he was back to civilization, pulling his saloon sedan into the rundown roadhouse at Bishop’s Cross.

He took a deep breath and took out his cell phone. No bars. He cursed, then steeled himself and made for the door beneath the flickering neon sign that read “Beherit Club“.

He approached the bar, eyes intent on the patrons scattered throughout. He ordered a whisky neat, top shelf, and lit a cigarette nervously.

“Pay phone?” he asked.

“Sure,” the bartender replied, pointing toward the bathrooms. There it stood, mounted between the doors to the men’s and women’s lavatories, like some sort of ancient relic from a long lost era.

Starbiter dialed the number by heart and put his back to the wall. All eyes were on him. As he waited for someone to answer he began to count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Sev—

Caliburn House.

“Thea?” he muttered, shaken.

“Yes, this is she, who…” Alethea Hill paused for a moment. “Guy, is that you?” she said. “You sound horrible.”

“Tell Landon,” Starbiter said, lowering his voice to a whisper, “Es tut mir leid.”

“What?”

“Just tell him, bitte.” Starbiter returned the handset to its cradle and slouched toward the bar. The magician downed his whisky and leaned there, eyes closed, that damnable nursery rhyme coursing through his brain.

“Another, Herr Starbiter?”

The magician looked up from his empty glass, startled. The bartender smiled as the patrons all rose from their seats.

“I am number eight,” the bartender said.

Dann bin ich neun, scheint es,” Starbiter replied.

Nein, der Hexer” the bartender said. “Du bist die Nummer eins.”

to be continued…

Artistically Speaking

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on October 2, 2018 by Occult Detective

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Occultober is in full swing. Today we honor the births of two legendary figures in the occult world — Jack Parsons — Thelemite, author, and co-founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory — and Arthur Edward Waite, author and occultist best known for the Rider-Waite Tarot.

I had several important projects to work on this morning.

First off, I tackled the writing of the backcover copy for a forthcoming Landon Connors novella I co-wrote with Greg Mitchell, then followed that up with finalizing the cover and back cover art and producing the fifth (above right) of five illustrations that will grace the interior. Greg is hard at work formatting the text and getting it ready for release. Stay tuned for more details on that front.

Next, I worked for a bit on my new review column that will begin appearing at Paint Monk Library. Here in the coming weeks I’ll be taking over Wally’s Saturday Night Shivers, reviewing horror comics for what is fast becoming the premiere review site on the internet.

I have been reviewing issues of Conan the Barbarian as a fill-in for Paint Monk’s “Countdown to Conan” for the past couple of months and it’s been a blast. I’m thrilled that Wally thought enough of my work to offer me a weekly column.

Finally, I had a chance to work on the cover art (above left) for my son Connor’s next release, Word Hollow. We have spent the last couple of months editing the book. Now all that’s left is formatting the text and getting it uploaded and printed. We hope to have it all wrapped up and ready for purchase by Hallowe’en.

I was really proud of his first work, Jonny Spencer and the Black Lich of Ashrock Earth, but Word Hollow is a much more mature effort. He was a born storyteller and it has been a thrill to watch him hone his craft. He’s already something special. I can hardly wait to see where his incredible talents take him and he continues to grow as an artist.

 

An Imaginarium Convention Update

Posted in Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 12, 2018 by Occult Detective

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My schedule is starting to shape up for my appearance at next month’s Imaginarium Convention.

I’ll only be attending the con on Saturday, October 6th this year. Though I’m not sure when, I will be signing copies of First Born, Shadows Over Somerset, & Keepers of the Dead at the Seventh Star Press table for a brief period of time. I will, however, be involved with two panel discussions:

Paranormal Literature – An open discussion about paranormal literature today. What’s popular now? What are some of the trends at the moment? Why do tales with strong paranormal elements resonate so strongly in a science-driven age? This panel will consider these kinds of questions and much more! Sat 11:30am in room Farmington. Panelist include: (Mod- Bob Freeman) Tammy Blackwell, Pam Turner, Kelly Martin, Katheryn Ragle.

The Occult in Literature – The occult is often used in literature, from thrillers, to mysteries, to horror and cross-genre tales. With a vast amount of information available and a history that extends to the beginning of humankind, the occult has proven to be fertile ground for storytellers. Our panelists will discuss the presence and use of the occult in literature. Sat 3:15pm in room Derby. Panelist include:  (Mod- Bob Freeman: The Occult Detective) Chad McClendon, Sara Marian, R.N.Drum, Janie Franz, Josef Matulich.

bobIf you’re looking for me to devalue your copies of any of my books (ie get them signed), catching me before or after one of these panels is a sure way to have me nailed down to one spot and hold me accountable.

Otherwise, if you see me on the convention floor, feel free to come right up and say “hi”, but be prepared for me to chew your ear a bit (not in a Mike Tyson sort of way). I’m hard to miss. I kind of stand out in a crowd for some reason.

I make my home in the Haunted Heartland

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

I always seem to get more popular the closer we get to Hallowe’en.

Case in point —

heartlandYou can find me in the latest issue of Heartland Magazine in an article titled “Oh, the Horror: Exploring Haunted Places in North Central Indiana”. I had a great chat with reporter Carson Gerber about several local haunts. He’s a great interviewer, always respectful, and a pleasure to just sit and talk with.

Want to see me in person?

I’ll be a guest for the 5th anniversary of the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky October 6 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Imaginarium is an amazing convention for writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, editors, publishers, game designers, cosplayers, gamers, readers, podcasters, pop culture fans and all who love the creative world. It features over 130 panels and workshops, sports a gaming room crawling with table-top games, RPGs, and retro video games, is a book fair and expo, and offers tons of Live entertainment, covering everything from bellydancing, to magic and music, costume contest and cosplay and more.

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Weekend and single day passes are available. For more info visit www.entertheimaginarium.com

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On October 20th, the Converse Historical Society will be hosting an old school Hallowe’en Festival at the Eastern Woodland Carvers Club in beautiful downtown Converse.

The CHS will have some fascinating artifacts on display, there will be games and refreshments, and I’ll be there giving people guided tours through the upper floors of the historic Oddfellows Building. Never been on a ghost hunt before? This is a chance you don’t want to miss.

Keep an eye on the CHS Facebook Page for details.

 

My thoughts on Dunwich by Peter Levenda

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on August 17, 2018 by Occult Detective

dunwichI am an unequivocal fan of Peter Levenda’s non-fiction writings. He is a thorough researcher and is uniquely gifted at connecting dots with an esoteric bent.  In Dunwich, the follow-up to his 2016 novel, The Lovecraft Code, Levenda takes those skills he has honed as a historian and conspiracy theorist to create and engaging occult thriller that merges modern Middle Eastern religion and politics with the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

While I found The Lovecraft Code intriguing, I thought it suffered somewhat from the actual nuts and bolts side of the of things. I got what Levenda was going for. He wanted to outshine Dan Brown, to beat him at his own game.

While I think the plot was terrific and the material was brilliantly assembled, it was the writing itself that ultimately fell short. It was a little too rote for my taste. With Dunwich, however, you can really see Levenda’s growth as a fiction author.

While his writing is still somewhat mechanical, there is a little more fluidity to his prose. At the heart of this novel, and its predecessor, is an engaging political pot-boiler that takes Robert Anton Wilson-esque twists and turns throughout.

Levenda knows this material as well as anyone, and if you’re a fan of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, or Katherine Kurtz’ Templar books, I think you’ll find this series by Peter Levenda to your liking.

What makes Dunwich work so well is the author’s breadth of knowledge. You believe every word he says, because the research shines through on every page. He paints a picture, not with rich, vivid colours, but with a real and believable palette that brings to life the dull, flaccid reality we are mired in. Levenda gives us the real world, shadows and all, and that makes the rabbit hole he’s presented for us all the more terrifying.

I recommend Dunwich highly and can hardly wait for the third installment in the series.

Dunwich: A Novel by Peter Levenda is available wherever books are sold, including the most Lovecraftian horror of all, Amazon.

 

78 Days until Hallowe’en

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occult Detectives on August 13, 2018 by Occult Detective

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Just wrapped up a novella, written with my friend Greg Mitchell, and we’re in the editing and graphic design stage of the project. We’ll be sharing the details soon enough, but I thought I’d share a little sneak peak at some of the art you’ll find inside.

Author Brian Keene could use a little help from his friends

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives on June 6, 2018 by Occult Detective

brianBrian Keene needs your help. An accident has left him with first, second, and third degree burns on his face and arm and, being a popular mid-list author, unfortunately, does come with the perk of health insurance. To take some of the sting out of mounting medical bills, author Stephen Kozeniewski has set up a gofundme to benefit Brian in his time of need.

On June 5, 2018, author, podcaster, philanthropist, and father Brian Keene was badly burned in an accident. At this time he is conscious and in good spirits but has first degree burns on his face and second degree burns on his body.

As a freelance author, Brian does not have health insurance. We’re not sure at this time how long he’ll be in treatment, or how much the bill will be, but any visit to the hospital is expensive, and will only be compounded by lost wages from not being able to work.

We’re asking the community of writers, horror fans, and just decent human beings in general to chip in a few dollars to help get Brian back on his feet and spending time with his loving girlfriend and sons. We’d be very grateful for anything you can afford to contribute.

DONATE HERE

I’ve known Brian for something like fifteen years. The first time I sat down with him and had a chat (at Maurice Broaddus’ house in Indy) I felt an instant kinship, bonding over our mutual love of Manly Wade Wellman and folk magic.

levi_smBrian’s Dark Hollow series (Dark Hollow, Ghost Walk, A Gathering of Crows, Last of the Albatwitches) is a brilliant take on the occult detective genre. I assure you, any fan of the genre will be enthralled by the adventures of ex-Amish magus Levi Stoltzfus.

Of course, I’m a little biased. The dedication page of Last of the Albatwitches, in part, reads:

The second half of this book — Last of the Albatwitches — is dedicated to Bob Freeman, my favorite real-life occult detective.

Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. He has always been a good friend to me and I have seen firsthand what he has given back to this community of fans and fellow authors. It’s well past time we give a little something back.

 

If you can’t donate to the gofundme campaign, maybe instead you could pick up one of his books. Every little bit helps.

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