All this month I’m going to be giving you a peek at snippets from my upcoming Whisper Hollow series. I have not been this excited about writing a series since I started Otherworld. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other work that I’ve written, but the Whisper Hollow series and its its characters launched themselves into my dreams. Literally. The characters and spirits that inhabit the world keep me awake at night, and they talk to me in my dreams. I’m extremely excited about this series — yes it is a slightly different direction than my urban fantasy, but I think it’s stronger than anything I’ve written.
I finished my chocolate. “I know what a Haunt is. They scare us— they’re Halloween ghosts.”
Lila laughed. “Yes, they are Halloween‑ type ghosts. They enjoy scaring people. Sometimes they can cause physical harm to us, and sometimes they can possess people. Poltergeists usually fall under this category. They’re angry ghosts, and they don’t want to go into the Veil. Sometimes, they’ve gone over but are able to break free and return. So we have to drive them back before they cause too much havoc. Now, the fifth kind, the Guides, are helpful. They come to tell us things we need to know, or they come back to check on those they loved. They’ve gone through the Veil, and they . . . well . . . they act like guardians for a while before going on to their next destination.”
I’d heard my grandmother talk about the spirits who helped her out all my life. “We leave them alone, right? Unless we need their help?”
“Right. We can talk to them if the need arises, and we can ask for help, but yes— we don’t interfere with their activities. Now, what’s the last type of dead?” She waited.
I bit my lip. I knew the answer, but the very name scared me. “Kerris, you have to learn how to talk about them. If you fear them, you give them too much power. So tell me, what’s the last type of dead?” She leaned down to take my hands. “I know you’re afraid, and truly— they can be terrifying— but you have to gain mastery over your fear. Fear strips your power, fear leaves you vulnerable. Always respect the power of the dead, but never give them power over you.”
Sucking in a deep breath, I nodded. “All right. The sixth form of dead are the Unliving, like Veronica.”
Veronica was a queen among the Unliving, and she had a lair near the cemetery. She seldom interacted with the town, but she occasionally brought spirits back from the Veil to serve her. The Unliving were corporeal, but they weren’t solid. They formed bodies from sheer will— from the energy they commanded— and they couldn’t be physically attacked. Dangerous and unpredictable, they were the most powerful form of the dead. They crossed back from the Veil filled with agendas that the living knew very little about. And they were able to manipulate physical objects, often harming the living. They could also affect the living on a mental level. The Unliving could control the environment around them, and they did so with general contempt for the living.
My grandmother slowly inclined her head. “Yes, the Unliving, like Veronica. And these spirits, Kerris, usually hate spirit shamans, because we are among the few who can harm them.”
Whisper Hollow is available for preorder. You can preorder signed copies from Seattle Mystery Bookshop—try to get your orders in before October 27, so they have enough copies. And remember, I will be having a book launch party at Seattle Mystery Bookshop on October 31st at Noon, and I will be signing in Beaverton OR, and Bellevue WA. See Appearances page.
UK readers: note, I have a UK publisher now, so there will be a version released simultaneously there.