Archive for Occult Detectives

My future’s in the cards. So is yours… #Tarot

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , on July 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

Here’s a sneak peek at the Tarot Deck I’m in the throes of designing.

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Taking a cue from my short-lived Weirder Tales online serial and even shorter-lived Occult Detective Illustrated comic magazine, I tapped into those past resources and conjured some additional art to create my latest deck experience.

Pictured above (from left to right, naturally) are The Magician (Landon Connors with Boo), the Queen of Pentacles (Sarah Jones), The Hierophant (Guy Starbiter, co-created with Freeman Presson), The Star, and The Devil

The Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot will be available soon, as will a deck of Rune Cards.

In the meantime, you might like to check out the other Tarot Decks I have available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

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And don’t forget my occult detective collection — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum — is available via Amazon and other online retail outlets.

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.:.

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Who is Landon Connors?

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on July 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

Here’s what people are saying about FIRST BORN:

If you like the genre, you’ll love Landon Connors and the entourage of standing characters in Bob Freeman’s imaginarium. The tales in this volume range from the classic noir detective yarn with Connors at the center, to horror stories set in rural places like those of the author’s youth.” — Freeman Presson, Wizard

The connections stand out so vividly when put in order.” — Greg Mitchell, author of The Coming Evil trilogy (not to be confused with a certain now-spectral Outrider)

“The tales here breathe, and oft times, there’s a hint of brimstone, perhaps some of that old black magick lurks in the exhale.” — Steven Shrewsbury, co-author of Bad Magick

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I don’t think it’s a secret that Landon Connors is the “star” of my Liber Monstrorum series. Oh, sure, there are plenty of other characters, many of them shining brightly, but let’s not kid ourselves — this universe revolves around Connors. So, I guess the big question is, where does he come from?

drconnorsWell, to dissect that mystery, we need to turn back the clock to 1987. I was living in a basement apartment in Muncie, Indiana, doing a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have been doing, but I’m awfully glad I did.

Anyway, in amongst the mind-expansion, self-exploration, and general magical mayhem, I was also pretty heavily into tabletop roleplaying.

We were playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition), a bit of Car Wars, a pinch of Call of Cthulhu, and two comic book related RPGS — Marvel Super-Heroes and DC Heroes.

It’s those last two games where Landon Connors origin story takes center stage, only he had a different name back then.

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Landon started out older and more cryptic, but the chain-smoking, drug abusing, occult detective was alive and well and going by the name Solomon Killingbeck, Private Eye.

We had sort of merged the Marvel and DC RPGs into a single somewhat cohesive game, utilizing the best bits from both systems and sprinkling a healthy dose of d20 mechanics into it.

Solomon Killingbeck was a character I rolled up and used as a Doctor Strange-type of NPC, a valuable resource for my players who helped shepherd them through many occult-themed adventures in the super-hero multiverse.

So, almost 20 years later when I decided to delve into writing occult detective fiction, obviously it was to Killingbeck that I first looked.

Yes, I made him younger and better looking, tossed him a demon-enchanted fedora, jettisoned his Jewish heritage, and changed his name, but the essence of the character was still there.

Oh, and about that name change: it was done to honor my son, Connor. His middle name, an homage to his maternal grandmother who passed just before he was born, is Landon.

Seemed like a perfect fit.

Anyway, you can read all about Landon Connors in First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, available now via Amazon and other online retail outlets.

And if you really want to submerge yourself in all-things Landon Connors, there are Connors-themed Tarot Decks available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

Imperfections of Sleep (Part 6 of 6)

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Imperfections of Sleep
Part 6 of 6

Special Agent Michelle Hawkes followed the occult detective over the ravine and gazed once more at the majesty of Rosslyn Chapel. They had been here three days, anticipating the battle that made this sacred place run red with blood.

She had wanted to take part, as had her friend and colleague, but they were not meant to be here, at least, so the mysterious dimensional traveler had said.

The confrontation had been monstrous in scope and beyond horrific, but in the end, good won out, but at a terrible price.

“So I’m to believe that Michael Somers saved the world and is now somewhere out there looking to end it?” Hawkes said. She was new to the Bureau, an Agent in the newly formed Paranormal Operations Division of the FBI, but she’s known Landon Connors for more than a while.

She thought back to the night they’d first met. She was a captive, held in the belly of a charnel house, food for some infernal thing. It was Connors and others known as Outriders who had saved her, brought her back into the light.

Eventually she joined their ranks, trained with Connors, for a short time they’d become lovers, but now…

They had parted ways badly. Landon, for all his brilliance and charm, was a lost soul. He was in such a dark place, and spent so much time hiding from the pain in his soul that she just couldn’t bear it.

She thought she could walk away from the life, but once you looked beyond the veil, there was no way to unsee those hidden forces all around us.

“It’s hard to imagine what’s going through his mind. He lost so much.” Connors paused, staring at the wondrous chapel. The stain on this place would remain for centuries, if not for Somers’ intervention. He wondered, could a mark such as this carry over into a timeline reborn?

“And we’re just letting him do this, letting him travel back in time to end this reality as we know it?”

“Yes,” Connors replied. “I guess we are.”

“It’s all like a bad dream.” She knelt and plucked a blade of dry grass from the earth, twirling it in her fingers. Was it a mistake accepting Connors’ invitation to come to Scotland, to watch the end? Was it wrong to find herself back in his arms, falling for him all over again?

“What was it Crowley said, — Dreams are imperfections of sleep; even so is consciousness the imperfection of waking. Dreams are impurities in the circulation of the blood; even so it’s consciousness a disorder of life.

“Always the romantic,” Hawkes said, turning away from the young detective.

He reached for her, taking her hand and pulling her back.

“Hey,” Connors said with a wink, “I try.” He drew her even closer and kissed her softly. “Michelle, I don’t know how long we have, or even if what Cassidy Martin said was true, but just in case, I need to tell you something.”

“What?”

“Since the first time we met, I knew that —” Connors paused, mid-sentence, looking passed the young woman before him, staring long into the black of night overhead.

“Landon?” Hawkes said, turning to see what had caught his attention. “What the—?”

The black sky was aglow, awash in a sea of swaying, rippling bands of vibrant color that blazed across the curtain of the still and silent night. Starlight grew dim, then were snuffed altogether like a candle blown out by the wind. A strange, almost industrial hum began to resonate and the ground began to quiver.

“This is it then?”

They held hands, wondering what to expect, if they would even exist when the celestial clock reset. Connors looked into Michelle Hawkes’ eyes and thought the words he had meant to say, but kept them to himself, hoping against hope that they’d be spoken in another life.

The End

One Week Till the Release of First Born

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2017 by Occult Detective

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From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe, this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

The ebook for First Born is available for pre-order now, with the actual trade paperback and kindle editions dropping on Friday, July 14 — one week from today.

First Born boasts fifteen stories in all, consisting of a novella (*), twelve short stories, and two illustrated tales (**). All are connected in various degrees. For instance, The Grim Beast of Iaeger (originally published by Michael Knost in Legends of the Mountain State 2) is a prequel to the events in the Wolfe & Crowe Investigation The Hour of the Wolf.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

Mourn Not the Sleepless Children
The Devil’s in the Details
The Soul Cages
Ashes to Ashes
Nos Galan Gaeaf
Familiar Territory**
Observance

Ghost of a Chance
The Cabin in the Woods*
Wyrdtails
Strange Magick**
The Grim Beast of Iaeger
The Hour of the Wolf
A Murder of Crows
A Gathering of Shadows

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An illustration from “Mourn Not the Sleepless Children”

I hope you get some semblance of the same feelings from these tales as I experienced whilst writing them. This genre, that of the occult detective, has been my unwavering passion for most all my life.

It has long been my desire to add to the grand tradition, to keep it alive im Geiste, as it affords me the pleasure of playing in the most thrilling of sandboxes imaginable.

Occult detective fiction, whether in a modern context or set within another era altogether, offers us the chance to glimpse beyond the veil, to dissect the greatest mysteries of all. We are beings of mind, body, and spirit, and through these works, and in works to come, I look to examine what these mean, individually and as a whole.

Who’s in the mood for a collection of supernatural thrillers?

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First BornIt’s official.

I am thrilled to announce that the cover reveal for First Born has dropped over on the website of my publisher, Seventh Star Press.

It’s been a long time coming.

These Liber Monstrorum tales, largely focusing on occult detective Landon Connors, have been near and dear to my heart for the past dozen years or so.

Even the Cairnwood Manor books are interwoven into this surreal landscape of supernatural fiction.

First Born is a collection of occult detective stories, all connected to a larger tapestry. These short tales have been placed in chronological order and served up as a prequel to Descendant, a novel featuring many of the characters you’ll be reading about in First Born. Following Descendant will be the novel Born Again and another collection titled Afterbirth.

Intrigued? Here, have a look at First Born’s backcover synopsis:

From the arcane sorceries of “The Wicked Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe,this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

 First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

Now, before I slink off to my library and get back to work, I thought I would leave you with this missive written by a good friend and fellow writer. I hope you’ll consider trying First Born on for size.If you’re into supernatural thrillers, then I think it will be a good fit.

BOB FREEMAN’S MAGICK
by Steven L. Shrewsbury

Someone asked me why I often spell magick with a ‘k’ attached. True enough, I first read of this spelling via the writings of Aleister Crowley and his use of the number eleven (K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet). Frankly, all cool appearances and Hammer of the Gods references aside, I use it to differentiate between what many may call magic. I’m not talking about magic, like sleight of hand with cards, parlor tricks; table knocking or David Copperfield wet dreams. True Magick has meaning, holds power and can be felt.

That said, I believe magick lurks in Bob Freeman’s tales. No deceit, no tricks, no BS. The stories in this collection hold a connecting resonance and flow naturally. I’ve seen many a writer struggle to find their voice or try to use someone else’s. Bob’s voice can reach a fine crescendo, not unlike the sweep of a wand…then rise and fall with the might of a bludgeon. Some folks want to pretty up their yarns, overcome by an overwhelming desire to whip out their throbbing thesauri. Bob tells a story and entertains, as simply as if he sat down on a couch to relate it. A natural storyteller, his opening lines grab hold fast. In “A Murder of Crows” the opening paragraph ends with the line, “The White Christ rose after three days on the cross, could the servant of the rook do less?” I had to find out more.

Some writers can lose their hold on that delightful feeling that can gush in storytelling, instead vomiting prose that sucks more ass than Dracula at a donkey farm. Bob’s sense of reality and desire to comprehend mysteries of the unknown mingle to keep one’s attention. In this connection, he makes one hungry to devour more. Part of his spell comes from life experience, both in harsh times and good, which give each story a firm frame of grit.

If this is your first taste of Bob’s brew, prepare to be hooked. If you’ve read Bob before, these shorter works will only make the head nod in a desire to read more… especially the teasers that lead up to his novel, DESCENDANT. Enjoy this glimpse into his mind.

The tales here breathe, and oft times, there’s a hint of brimstone, perhaps some of that old black magick lurks in the exhale. Bob’s tales are never typical of the classic mystery, noir or horror tale, but he places a fresh polish on certain underpinnings. His narrative in “Ashes to Ashes” dealing with Crowley’s remains, made me say aloud, “Damn, wish I’d have thought of that.” Knowledgeable beyond my vaguest hoping in such lore, he’s never dull. Bob tells a story that draws one in to accept this reality.

These yarns are Bob Freeman’s. Does he remind me of anyone else? Sure, but to say that tale is a Bob Freeman story and holds a unique magick all its own, hey, what more is there to say? He succeeds in getting it across, hitting the mark, weaving his spell.

So, grab a drink, sit down and get comfy. Let’s go to places only Bob Freeman can see and take us to…they are dark places, moody, scary and downright magickal. Get ready. We’ll be there most of the evening.

Steven L. Shrewsbury
Rural Central Illinois

Hungry like the Wolfe

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on April 5, 2017 by Occult Detective

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An illustration of Selina Wolfe, one half of the the occult detective team Wolfe & Crowe.

Selina and her partner, Martin Crowe, will be appearing soon in the Liber Monstrorum Trilogy from Seventh Star Press.

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The Cabin in the Woods Audio Drama

Posted in Archive, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2016 by Occult Detective

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Doctor Landon Connors, Occult Detective, is summoned to a remote area of the Wisconsin wilderness to investigate a grizzly mystery.

Cast:
NARRATOR – Chris Hussey
LANDON CONNORS – Alex Cater
ALETHEA HILL – Shannon Steele
BOO – Katarina Ausley
OFFICER HARBER – Jeff King
SPECIAL AGENT SELINA WOLFE – Mandy Osipenko
SPECIAL AGENT MARTIN CROWE – Alan Gerding
MATSE – Dan Boud
MICHELLE HAWKES – Emily Morgan

Music:
Theme Music by Ruud Janssen
Background Music by Musica Cthulhiana

LISTEN HERE AND ENJOY.

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