Archive for Cairnwood Manor

Dead Letters (#writingintheoryandpractice)

Posted in Writing with tags on August 24, 2015 by Occult Detective

On August 24, 1456, Johannes Gutenberg completed the task of printing the Holy Writ, the first major work to have been done so through the use of movable type. It revolutionized the printing industry, obviously. The guy who gets overlooked in the process all too often is the proofreader. Now there’s an unsung hero if ever there was one.

I hate it, personally. To be honest, I even hate looking over the edits someone else has done on my work. It’s a tedious, but necessary, part of the process.

Some people dig it.

They’re the ones I don’t wholly trust, but I do recognize the need for such demented types.

kotdavI bring this up because I am currently poring over edits on my second Cairnwood Manor novel, Keepers of the Dead. Scott Sandridge has done a thorough job of making Keepers a better book. My job, at this point, is pretty much just agreeing with his proof edits. So far, so good. Except for one little thing — I prefer leapt over leaped and I don’t know why… but I do.

That’s my one sticking point… and by the gods, I will defend it unto my dying breath.

Or not.

The thing about typos and proofs and all that rot is, I do so hate to admit that I’m capable of mistakes. Looking over this thing, I see I’m more than capable… I’m damn near a professional at it.

And with that, I bid you adieu as I dive back into misplaced commas, dropped words, and run-on sentences.

Old ghosts and wolves remembered

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing with tags , on August 14, 2015 by Occult Detective

Writing today… slow, but steady… frequent interruptions, but I’m keeping me head in the moment, which is hard for me. I do my best writing when the stars are aligned, when I control my environment, like an alchemist and hermeticist, submerged in gnosis, wielding spells of ancient crafting to create worlds of wonder beneath cthonic skies…

The wolves are hungry and wanting fed. So too the wanton spirits of the departed, but it is not the flesh they seek to rend. The incorporeal are cannibals and seek their own…

I have returned to Cairnwood for a feast of fiends and a reunion of sorts.

Old ghosts cannot die, but they can sometimes be tamed.

wolfIt’s a cold, simple truth — everything dies. You. Me. The Sun, the moon, and stars, and the very Earth itself. All of it is finite. All except the soul. Souls are resilient bastards. To kill one of those takes some real metaphysical muscle. Breaking them’s easy though. Standing here in the god damn rain, I’m watching soul’s break all around me. Funerals are like that, especially this one, because the guy getting planted, well, he was my father, and a father to a hell of a lot people huddled together here today, crying like there’ll be no tomorrow. For most of them, there won’t be.

Let me back the fuck up. My name’s Autry. Brooks Autry, and I never really knew my parents. I was orphaned pretty young and lived by the seat of my pants for as long as I can remember. The guy being readied for his dirt nap kind of took me in, showed me what’s what and set me on a path. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. Wasn’t easy for any of us, but Dr. Connors was the kind of guy that made you see the big picture, gave you a sense of purpose. See, the Doc was the kind of guy who shot it to you straight. He knew the world for what it really was, not the bull shit most people pretended it to be. He saw the light, but he didn’t deny the darkness. In fact, it was the darkness that drew him in, gave him his reason for being. That became our reason too. The darkness. We were the ones who stared it down and kept it from swallowing the world whole.

But now, Connors is as dead as a door nail, his soul traipsing about God’s back forty, or some such. I’m not worried though. He’s been dead before and come back. I suspect he’ll be back around for another go in short enough order. I’ve just got to bring in the proper witch to see it through.

His work’s not done. Not yet. See, I know in my heart that everything dies, but I also know that there are some souls that aren’t meant for rest, and Landon Connors’ soul’s one of those. He’s got work to do and I aim to see that he gets back to it.

The last time things went south for Connors, we turned to the Seidr Sisters to set things right. That won’t cut it this time around. No, this is going to require the kind of mojo that’s a might more dirty, if you catch my meaning. And I know just the skirt to do the deed.

Way I see it, I have three days to get this done. Three days. That’s not much, but God’s own Son pulled off that trick, so I imagine Connors can too. They sort of operate under the same set of rules.

I strike a waterproof match against my belt buckle and put fire to a twisted cigarillo I traded a witch doctor for down in New Orleans a week back. It’s black smoke seeps into my lungs and makes the world melt away a little bit.

“Don’t worry, Hoss,” I say as they lower the coffin into the ground. “I’ve got your back.”

Walking away from the service, Nightstalkers’ tears masked by the pouring god damn rain, there is but one blasted name on my mind and it’s gnawing away like a dog with a bone — Autumn Sevier.

Word is she’s back in the area, sniffing around the ruins of Cairnwood Manor. Well, I’ve a mind to do some sniffing of my own. The bitch owes me, but she’s owes Connors even more. She’s got the juice. Now I’ve just got to fire her up, turn her on, and get that old black magick flowing.

Judging a Book by its Cover

Posted in Archive with tags , on June 12, 2014 by Occult Detective

Yesterday, the good folks at Seventh Star Press unveiled the cover for the re-release of the first book in my Cairnwood Manor trilogy, Shadows Over Somerset. The artwork is by a young man from the Philippines named Enggar Adirasa. I think you’ll agree the cover, along with the two interior illustrations is really quite brilliant. Normally, I’d want to tackle the art chores myself, but I found myself behind the proverbial Magick 8 Ball and gave the publisher the go ahead to find a replacement. And boy did they.

cairnwood cover



Needless to say, I couldn’t be more pleased.

I am thrilled that Seventh Star Press approached me about rereleasing Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead. Originally published by Black Death Books (an imprint of KHP), I got the rights back when they decided to go “ebook only”. While I respect their decision, I’m just not a fan of ebooks. They have their place, but at the time, only having my work in electronic format just didn’t sit well with me.

Now, Seventh Star has helped to breathe new life into the series. I’m working with a great editor and the publishing and production team has been a welcome breath of fresh air. And, of course, along with the release of the first two installments, the third chapter in the Cairnwood Manor saga will finally see the light of day. The fact that there has been so many fans clamoring for it over the years warms my blackened heart.

Cairnwood Manor is where it all started for me. That I get to return to my Wolves and run with them again is more than I could have hoped for. Shadow of the Wolf (originally titled In Time’s Shadow) will pick up where Keepers of the Dead left off. You can expect magic and mayhem… and a walk through Cairnwood Manor’s grim past.

Stay tuned as this thrilling saga of werewolves, vampires, witches, zombies, and more rears its malefic head and captures your imagination once more.



Here’s an excerpt from the first novel to tide you over…

The wolves had gathered in a wide circle around Lilith. She turned slowly, staring each in the eyes as she did so. She paused at Sebastian. He smiled. He knew what she had planned. He also knew that it would cost her dearly. He had seen it before, years ago when he first took control of the pack. He fought to calm his mind knowing that she would need his strength to pull this off.

“I call thee to this circle of power,” she began, lifting her arms to the Heavens, “to this meeting place between the world of man and wolf, and that of the realm of the Goddess, who shall guard and protect us and preserve and contain the power which we shall raise in her name and for the sake of the House of Cairnwood everlasting.”

“I summon, stir, and call to the sacred spark of divinity that resides within this circle. Watchers of the four quarters bear witness to this rite and guard the circle from the forces of evil,” she called. Overhead the clouds began to part around the full moon. It shone down upon the circle of wolves and they began to writhe as its magic touched them.

“I invoke thee and call upon thee, oh Goddess, mother of us all. We call upon the Master of the Hunt that he might bless this rite and give aide in this time of need. I call upon the pack and invoke the sacred name of Angus MacGregor, sire of the clan and he who was first changed. I call upon the powers to feed the pack from its wellspring that it might be channeled to the aide of the clan. In the name of the ancient of ancients and the holy of holies, in the name of all that was and is and shall be…Feed me with your awesome might!”

Alex could only stare in wide wonder as those within the magic circle began to shimmer. A faint glow emanated from the gathered and then a wind swept toward them. Alex was transfixed as the wind funneled and swirled within the circle. Her ears popped and suddenly the faint glow become a radiant green and joined in with the vortex that reached toward the moon above. The emerald energy was drawn from the wolves that made up the circle and channeled into Lilith who cast it toward the moon overhead. Suddenly they all collapsed, the wolves reverting to their human forms and Lilith left smoking in the circle’s center.

Alex was shaken to her very core and knelt upon the ground with mouth agape. She had just witnessed an act of magic unbelievable and she knew in her heart of hearts that nothing for her would ever be the same again.

Bark at the Moon

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 2, 2013 by Occult Detective


Shadows Over Somerset

Coming Soon from Seventh Star Press

“In the first few pages alone we are given proof positive
of what terror lurks around every corner…
and it’s this tension that shines through on every page.”
–Insidious Reflections

“I recommend it to all horror fans
(even those who don’t particularly care for
vampires, werewolves, or witches).”

“With its dark, gothic atmosphere and…breakneck action,
(Shadows Over Somerset’s) got a little something
for fans of every dark persuasion.”
–Stephen Mark Rainey, author of The Lebo Coven

“Gory, baroque, hairy fun with vamps and beasties.”
–William Meikle, author of the Watchers trilogy


Bob Freeman signs with Seventh Star Press

Posted in Archive with tags , , , on September 10, 2013 by Occult Detective

For Immediate Release
September 10, 2013


Seventh Star Press is proud to welcome Bob Freeman to its author family, with the addition of two exciting series!  Both cross-genre in nature, the two series contain a diverse array including dark fantasy, horror, and supernatural thriller elements!

The Cairnwood Manor Trilogy, which includes the titles Shadows Over SomersetKeepers of the Dead, and In Time’s Shadow, tells the story of a clash and curse with roots in 14th century Scotland.  In a world of werewolves, witches, and vampires, a descendant of the Cairnwood clan named Michael Somers must come to terms with his family’s legacy while preparing to confront an ancient evil that awakens in the town of Somerset. Readers can expect the Seventh Star Press release of Shadows Over Somerset in early 2014.

The Landon Connors Trilogy consists of the titles First BornDescendant, and Born Again. Introducing federal agents Selina Wolfe and her undead partner Martin Crowe, the series invites readers along for the ride on their occult-savvy investigations delving into the mythical, supernatural, and horrific. Faced with adversaries of the demonic and monstrous kind, Wolfe and Crowe spearhead occult detective thrillers like no other!  Readers everywhere can look forward to the Seventh Star Press release of First Born in the first part of 2014.

Regarding joining the Seventh Star Press family with these projects, Bob commented, “I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Seventh Star Press. It’s an honour and privilege to be published alongside writers such as Michael West, Steven Shrewsbury, and Peter Welmerink, and I have been clamoring to work with Stephen Zimmer for years. I’m proud to be counted among their number and look forward to a bright and prosperous partnership.”

Bob lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.  In addition to his pursuits as an author, he is a card carrying paranormal adventurer who founded Nightstalkers of Indiana in 1983.  A lifelong student of witchcraft, magic, and religion, Bob’s studies are reflected in his art, both as an author and illustrator.

He can be found online at

Seventh Star Press is a publisher of speculative fiction based in Lexington Kentucky.  For further information on the press or the forthcoming Bob Freeman titles, please visit

GRAVE CONCERNS: A Parker Brothers Mystery (Part 4 of 5)

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 26, 2012 by Occult Detective

A Parker Brothers Mystery

by Bob Freeman


“Down! Now!”

Landon Connors focused all of his energy, tapping into long dormant reserves of magickal power. He had one shot at this, at destroying the fell creature before him, but between him and it was his lover. He couldn’t risk her being harmed by the eldritch storm he so desperately needed to release, but to not act in that instant, far more than she was in danger.

Michele Hawkes dove to the ground at Connors’ command, rolling as she did so, her sidearm trained on the grim figure standing in the doorway that led to third floor balcony. Black robes clung to his bloated corpse, his flesh mottled and scarred. Still, she recognized the man he once was. When living he was renowned, even feared, throughout the community of Nightstalkers. In death he was far worse.

“Chadwick Underwood,” Connors raged, “you are unwelcome here, foul Lich!”

Even as he spoke the words he released the spell. Blue-white fire spread from the occult detective’s fingertips forming arcane sigils as they enveloped the undead sorcerer. A laugh echoed forth as Underwood stepped through the magickal discharge unscathed.

“Your father was no match for me, nor his father before him,” Underwood said. “Did you really think that you’d stand a shadow of a chance against me with your childish incantations and pyrotechnics?” He raised his hands to his head, pressing against his temples, thumbs out and up. “There’s more to being a wizard than bells and whistles, boy.” His eyes turned cold and black. “You also need panache.”

Black smoke billowed from the lich’s eyes to swirl about Connors’ magick circle, searching for a weakness in the intricate web of astral symbols the occult detective had weaved. The tendrils of smoke struck like vipers as beads of sweat poured from Connors’ brow. It was all he could do to keep the lich’s dark energy at bay. He felt himself weaken even as he heard Michelle’s sidearm erupt, firing off six quick rounds before the fiend’s attention was drawn to her. A single strand of hellish smoke licked out at her, flinging her across the room where she crumbled unconscious from the violent collision with the far wall.

“No!” Connor screamed, his concentration broken. He knew better and he silently cursed himself as Underwood’s dark magick engulfed him. The smoke breached his magickal barrier at that moment, pouring into his mouth and eyes. His consciouness wavered as his very lifeforce became choked by the cthonic malediction. As he sank further into the great abyss where death waited like a forlorn inamorata, he heard a feral and ravenous growl, and then there was nothing but the cold embrace of oblivion.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Sarah barked, grabbing Allen’s arm as he started off to join his brother. Dale was a few yards ahead, following the trail of the werewolf into the bowels of Cairnwood Manor. The four young adventurers had all seen the bursts of light coming from the upper floor of the manor house and heard the barrage of gunfire, all from the place that the unimaginable beast had only moments before entered.

“Damn it, Sarah,” he replied, “this is what we do.”

“What? March off to be killed?” Tears poured down her cheeks. “Just leave it alone, Allen. Please. We need to just…”

“I’m sorry,” he said. He took her hand and kissed it. “I’ve got to.” Allen released her and headed off to where his brother waited by the shattered manor doors, the Liber Monstrorum tucked under one arm. He paused and looked back to the two girls now huddled together beneath the cruel October moon. “We’ll be alright.”

“How can you be so sure?” Cassidy asked.

“Because we’re the Parker brothers,” he said with a sheepish grin. He caught up with Dale and the two entered the ancient relic.

The brothers swept the foyer with their flashlights and crossed the room to the once magnificent staircase. They could hear the sound of struggle from overhead, violent and ferocious. They picked up the pace as they raced up the stairs, across the second floor landing, and then upward toward the third floor. They could hear the beast roar with a mixture of pain and fury amid concussive blasts of something neither young man could identify, but the smell as they moved across the third floor was almost enough to force them to turn back — a combination of sulfur and burnt flesh.

“You ready?” Dale asked. He stopped at the smashed entryway into the manor library and  pulled a revolver from the holster in the small of his back.

Allen looked scared, but he steeled himself. “As I’ll ever be.”

“Here,” Dale said, handing the gun to his little brother.

“Whoa, what are you doing, bro?”

Dale smiled and thumped the book with his hand, “Keeping my hands free for this.”

Allen took the lead and entered the room, gun in his right hand, up and ready, steadied by his left. As his eyes focused on the carnage before them he thought of Sarah and wondered if she’d been right. Maybe they should have hightailed it out of Cairnwood Cemetery and never looked back. He was sure that none of their training, none of their studies, had prepared them for this.

End, Part the Fourth

Be sure to tune in next Friday for the
Senses-Shattering Conclusion to

GRAVE CONCERNS: A Parker Brothers Mystery (Part 3 of 5)

Posted in Archive with tags , , , , on October 19, 2012 by Occult Detective

A Parker Brothers Mystery

by Bob Freeman


“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Cassidy paced back and forth nervously, eyes on the bare trees and their lone inhabitant, a mottled brown and gray barn owl who was just as curious about her as she was it.

“You’ve always got a bad feeling about something,” her cousin replied. Sarah was more intent on the work of the Parker brothers than on the local wildlife. “Quit with the traipsing about already. You’re making my skin crawl.”

“Well excuse me, Miss Ain’t-Scared-of-Nothing,” Cassidy barked. “You’ll have to forgive me for not being overly fond of watching two of my best friends waist deep in a grave they’re intent on robbing.”

“We’re not grave robbing,” Sarah was quick to respond.  “We’re… liberating something buried here.” She turned away from her vigil over Allen and Dale’s digging “If Dr. Connors is correct, that is.”

“Well I’m not as well versed in local folk lore to know what the hell we’re after. What is it about this Cairnwood place anyway?”

“You want the legend or the fact?” Sarah asked.

“Fact, of course.”

Sarah took a seat on one of the headstones and motioned for Cassidy to join her.

“Beats the hell out of me then. What I do know is that this place has been abandoned since 1988, right after this terrible flood and a couple of suspicious fires. One that nearly burnt down Somerset, the other that did a number on the manor house. It’s old, built sometime before the Civil War, I think, and there have been ghost and monster stories attached to it almost from the very beginning.”

“And the people who lived here?” Cassidy’s eyes focused on the Manor.

“The Cairnwoods? Oh, they were of old money, but the line died out with a crazy old wizard named Leland. He passed away just before the fire that ruined the mansion, but there’s more to it than that. I overheard Dr. Connors talking to the boys and he said something about two sets of books he had that had differing historical records about Cairnwood Manor. I didn’t quite follow all of it, but it was enough for him to send us out here to snoop about.”

“Well, that’s all as clear as mud,” Cassidy rose from her headstone seat. “Why are we digging up this Michael Somers’ grave? What does that have to do with the house and its mysterious past?”

“That’s what we’re about to find out,” Sarah replied. “I think.”

The girls both turned as they heard a loud chunk resound from the grave. The Parkers stopped their digging and stared at one another, then looked to the girls.

“We hit something,” Allen said, a hint of nervousness in his voice.

“By something you mean a… coffin, right?” Sarah and Cassidy slowly approached.

“Yeah,” Dale said, “a coffin.” He knelt down and brushed dirt away from the coffin lid. Sarah shined her flashlight into the nearly six foot hole. “Michael Somers’ coffin,” Dale added with a confident smile. “Toss me the hammer and pry bar from my pack, please.”

“Are you sure about this, Dale?” Cassidy asked, taking a step back as Sarah retrieved the items.

“We’ve come this far,” he replied. “Allen, give me a hand here, little brother.”

Allen and Dale set to work on opening the coffin lid, prying at the old and rotting wood. The barn owl hooted its displeasure and took flight. Cassidy wished she could as well.

“Sarah, remember what I said about having a bad feeling?”

“Yes,” Sarah replied, taking her cousin’s hand in hers.

“It’s worse,” she whispered.

Then came the sound of rending wood and the guttural growl of something altogether unnatural. The two boys clamored out of the grave with terrified urgency as a great and furry beast erupted up and out of its underground prison. It cried out toward the moon overhead, a long and mournful howl that bristled with rage and unrepentant fury.

Sarah and Cassidy fell backward, crashing to the ground, eyes wide with fear, scarcely noticing the Parkers scrambling toward them as they were transfixed by the magnificent and mind-numbing beast that stood above them. The creature roared, it’s hot breath bellowing forth as if the very fires of hell were trapped in its lungs, as broken chains fell away from its rippling sinews. It sprang away from them with amazing grace and speed, hellbent for Cairnwood Manor. The four of them watched as the beast burst through the once mighty doors of the house, disappearing into the darkness within, the sound of its fury echoing through the night.

“Wh-what the hell was that?” Cassidy stammered.

“That,” Dale replied,” was a werewolf.”

Dale wandered toward the grave as Allen helped the girls to their feet. “Bro, we need to get out of here. We  need to call dad… and Landon. We need to… ” He couldn’t believe his eyes as his brother dropped down inside the now empty grave. “What are you doing?”

“Dale, we’ve got to get out of here,” Cassidy cried.

The elder Parker climbed up out of the hole, something large in his hands, wrapped in worn cloth.

“Not without this,” he said.

He knelt on the ground, unwrapping the object as the others surrounded him. Inside was a large leather-bound tome, intricate and foreboding. On its cover, in gilt lettering, was a title, below it the familiar family crest of the Connors family.

“Liber Monstrorum,” Sarah read aloud. “What does that mean?”

Dale looked up at her and replied, “The Book of Monsters.”

End, Part the Third

2012: The Return of the Wolves of Cairnwood Manor

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 14, 2011 by Occult Detective

Shadows Over Somerset
Digital, Limited Edition Trade Paperback, and Hardcover
March 2012

The plan, as of now, is for the relaunch of the Cairnwood Manor series in 2012, beginning with the release of the book that started it all — Shadows Over Somerset — in March of next year. It will be followed by Keepers of the Dead in June,  In Time’s Shadow in September, and a Hardcover Omnibus (including some rare Cairnwood Manor-related short stories) in December. Stay tuned to this website for further details as they become available.

NEW Keepers of the Dead Book Trailer

Posted in Archive with tags , , on August 16, 2010 by Occult Detective

Check this little number out. SD Hintz created this book trailer to support the release of Keepers of the Dead on Merchant’s Keep. Captures the mood quite nicely methinks:

Book ’em

Posted in Archive with tags , on August 3, 2010 by Occult Detective

I am told that very soon ebook editions of Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead will be available in all possible formats. It is something that I have not yet fully embraced, though I do have several handfuls of pdfs on my netbook that I’ve been meaning to tear into.

I expect that this is the future and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Books are not going away, that much I’m sure of, but I believe the mass market paperback just might be. And it makes sense.

For starters, from a green point of view, we’ll save a few trees by not pulping them to produce what are primarily discardable reading material anyway.

I worked in bookstores for a number of years and each month I was appalled at the sheer volume of MMPBs that were stripped of their covers and then unceremoniously tossed into a dumpster.

Fear not, book lovers. The trade (for now) and the hardcover will remain viable and cherished by the industry and the devoted reader.

In recent years I have slowly been removing paperbacks from my extensive library, replacing my favorite tales with their hardcover equivalent whenever possible. Space was becoming a bit of a minor concern, but more importantly, hardcovers speak to longevity. There is an elegance to the hardcover book, from the smell to the texture, from the craftsmanship behind the binding and the artistry of the dust jacket.

I love books with every fiber of my being and I will continue to collect them until the day I pass over into that great library in the sky. The ebook will be just one more edition for me to cherish.

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