Tuesday 6 May 2014

Tuesday Tease - Hellbender by Jason Jack Miller

Jason Jack Miller provides an excerpt from his horror novel Hellbender, an excellent read as you can see from my review here. I hope the excerpt whets your appetite as much as it did for me:
Click on image to purchase from Amazon

by Jason Jack Miller
“Yeah, I get it. But that doesn’t make me feel much better. I have a hard time putting my faith in magic, Ben.”

“Trust us. That’s what family’s for.”

It would’ve have been easier to trust them if there weren’t so many variables. I could find faith in the fact that people I trusted wouldn’t let me down, but my trust ended there. Beyond that there was little we could do to limit the actions of people hell-bent on living like they needed no justification for their actions. If Charlie Lewis decided he was wronged, then by God, he was wronged. Fate didn’t have a hand in this ordeal. This was simply people at their worst.

At the bottom of Otter Creek we followed the Dry Fork up to its junction with Red Run. The rocky banks were low to the water. All around us mosses and ferns fought for moisture. The bluets speckled the green banks with faint blue pinpoints creating a galaxy in miniature. Wild bleeding hearts stared, sleepy eyed, at hawthorns, oaks, and ash, perhaps looking for fairies, perhaps just readying the ground for the Indian pipes and Pink Lady’s Slipper that would pop forth any day now.

On the slopes of Mozark Mountain, we bounced through a weedy clearing where an old logging town had once stood. The only recognizable structure was the stony foundation of an old hotel where wood hicks and gandy dancers could drink and fight without worrying about their bosses. We passed long-dead coal shafts where miners had labored beneath the earth, dreaming of daylight and fresh air.

When we reentered wilderness, we left behind any ties we had to the modern, mechanized world for good. We knew all we had was all we carried with us. If things got really bad we could only rely upon ourselves.

The forest lining Red Run was greater than any I’d ever seen. Monster oak trees, ten feet across at the height of a man’s waist, crowded the old green path we followed up to the camp. Giant poplars stretched hundreds of feet into the air, quickly stifling any talk of redwoods and giant sequoias.

We bumped up the path. The streams were wilder, the cliffs rockier, the laurel hells thicker than any I’d ever seen. This forest wasn’t the product of conservation, planning and management. This forest was the product of seeds and sunlight. Thunderstorms and blizzards.

This forest and its dark, woody depths held secrets. Held fables.

This was a fairy tale forest, an abomination of imagination and nightmares. Every tale that began ‘Once upon a time’ has a forest like this present at its birth. Demons and devils evolved from the wolves and serpents that played midwife to the birth of such tales. Thorny greenbrier served as the cradle.

In all of this our role was a small one. We were nothing more than a small drop of milk sliding down, down, down to the navel.

Click here to purchase Hellbender from Amazon (it's an excellent read)

About the Author:

Jason Jack Miller knows it’s silly to hold onto the Bohemian ideals of literature, music, and love above all else. But he doesn’t care.

His own adventures paddling wild mountain rivers and playing Nirvana covers for less-than-enthusiastic crowds inspired his Murder Ballads and Whiskey series, published by Raw Dog Screaming Press. The first three books are currently available: The Devil and Preston Black, Hellbender, and The Revelations of Preston Black. The next installment, All Saints, is due out in 2014.

Hellbender was Jason's thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program, where he is now adjunct faculty. The novel won the Arthur J. Rooney Award for Fiction and is a finalist for the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award.

His career got its start when he co-authored an outdoor travel guide with his wife in 2006. Since then his work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones, and in the award-winning writing guide Many Genres, One Craft.

When Jason isn't writing he's on his mountain bike or looking for his next favorite guitar.

He is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, and International Thriller Writers. He lives just outside of Pittsburgh with his wife, Heidi, and a cat. His blog is http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com. Tweet him @jasonjackmiller. Email me at jasonjackmiller at gmail.com

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