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.
The room seemed oddly out of phase— a blur of two worlds colliding.
The man in the bed was hooked up to so many machines that he looked cybernetic. I stared at him, gauging his energy. A swirl of mist seethed around him, exiting his body as Diago drained him. I followed the trail of mist and vapor and found myself turning to the far corner. There, crouched in the shadows, was the Scuffler under the Bed.
He was tall and long, gaunt, like a walking stick insect or a walking skeleton. His skin stretched over the bones, paper thin and flaking, and covered with rashes and sores. Diago’s eyes sank into the sockets, dark purple circles bruising his cheeks beneath them. He wore a top hat over long ratty hair that coiled down his back. He wore no shirt, showing his long, jointed arms, and his ribs pushed against his chest. His pants were so loose that they barely stayed up, kept on by a belt cinched to the last hole. Diago’s tongue flickered out like a lizard’s as he inhaled the stream of energy coming from the man in the bed. He sucked it in with a greedy smile.
Diago suddenly seemed to realize I was watching him. He slowly rose, standing on the tips of his toes, and leaned backward from his waist at a ninety‑ degree angle as he twisted his head to hold my gaze. His gaze was hypnotic and beckoning. As mesmerized as I was repulsed, I found myself stumbling forward a few steps, before Bryan’s warn ing echoed in my head and I managed to stop myself.
“Hold steady”— a whisper behind me. Ellia changed her song and a dark melody poured out of her violin. The music energized me and I could hear the cawing of crows at my shoulder. Averting my eyes from Diago, I focused on the wand and the feathered fan. The crows screeched in my ear. Holding up the fan, I swept it three times. A faint breeze sprang up, crackling around him. I could see pale sparks light the rippling air that had come from the fan. The shriek of crows grew louder.
Diago pulled back with a hiss. “Spirit shaman . . .” His words flew by on the crackle of autumn leaves and he crouched, tiptoeing toward the bed. “Leave me with my prize.”
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.