The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

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Be careful what you let in… The Haunting Season
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead. The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

EXCERPT:

It was only when the crickets and frogs stopped that Jess awoke. She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to the dark. She turned back over, expecting Allison to be either still sitting up, or asleep. But her bed was empty and Allison stood in front of the dresser, hands at her sides, staring at the mirror. Alarmed, Jess sat upright.

“It’s happening again,” Allison said.

“Huh?”

“The spirits. They’re back. I can see them.”

Jess rubbed her eyes as a spark of uncertainty and a moment’s worth of fear rustled somewhere deep inside her. “They’re there, in the mirror?”

“Yes.”

Jess got out of bed and tentatively stood next to Allison. She looked at the mirror, then behind her. Nothing. Uncertainty gave way to disappointment. The mirror cast back only the shadowy figures of Allison and herself, their faces made pale by the moonlight streaming into the room. They were alone, as far as Jess could tell.

Damn it! Why couldn’t she see the ghosts? Were they here? Disappointment gave way to a pang of envy.

“You don’t seem as upset as you were before,” Jess said. “If they’re back, aren’t you afraid they’ll take over? Possess you?” She wasn’t making fun of Allison. Something horrible had happened to her, and she was probably more sensitive to the supernatural than Jess was.

“Yes, I’m afraid,” Allison replied calmly.

The way Allison spoke seemed at odds with her words. The hairs on Jess’s arms tingled, but not because of any ghosts she couldn’t see. Right now, the only thing creepy in the room was Allison. The girl had been possessed, after all.

Allison turned her head to look at Jess, her expression unreadable in the shadows, even this close up. “He collects souls.”

Jess peered harder into the mirror, trying not to show Allison she was indeed afraid. “He? Who are you talking about?”

“He’s looking at you. I can’t make out what he’s saying. But see?” she pointed to the mirror. “He wrote his name.”

Fear and a healthy dose of agitation rose inside Jess. Fear, because someone staring at them from inside a mirror was downright scary. Agitated, because she couldn’t see anything, and Allison’s continual freak-outs were wearing on her. After a long day getting here, she was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.

“Allison, I don’t see anything! He? Who are you talking about?”

“Riley,” Allison whispered.

“Riley? Who’s Riley?”

Allison stood just as still as she had upon Jess’s wakening. “He lives here. With the others.”

“Others?” Jess stepped closer to the mirror, leaning against the dresser to get a better look. Her breath fogged it enough to reveal a single name, written backward: Riley.

Author Bio: 

MichelleMutoAuthorPicMichelle has always loved storytelling. When she was a child, her favorite stories were of monsters and things that lurked in the dark. Telling stories often frightened her classmates and got her into a lot of trouble with her teachers. They had no sense of humor.

As an adult, Michelle traded her love of writing for the corporate life where she was an IT professional. Today, she’s doing what she loves best – writing and storytelling.

Michelle grew up in Chicago, but currently lives in NE Georgia with her husband and their two dogs. She loves scary books, funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, dogs, and changes of season.

Links:
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Mailing list

Where to Buy:

Amazon US Kindle: http://amzn.to/17GZtd1
Amazon UK Kindle: http://amzn.to/1ctUVn1
Amazon US Paperback: http://amzn.to/12qa33l
Amazon UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/128a6gV

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/268309

Author Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
During a trip to Savannah, I visited the Sorrel-Weed house, which is reported to be Savannah’s most haunted house.
What is different about this book compared to others you’ve written?

For starters, The Haunting Season is New Adult. Secondly, the main characters are not supernatural beings.

Most unique or unusual research you’ve ever done for The Haunting Season?

Besides visiting the Sorrel-Weed house? Asking a former mortician about embalming methods in the early to mid 1900’s and how embalming and burial procedures have changed and why. It’s both fascinating and a bit gruesome.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Keeping my butt in the chair for as many hours as I need to per day. Resisting the urge to jump on the internet when I’m having difficulty with a scene.

If you could meet any author who is no longer living, who would it be?

Tough call. Edgar Allan Poe, probably. But I’d also like to meet Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?

It’s a adult dark fantasy novel with action, castles, and gargoyles.  It’ll be out early this summer.

If you could do one thing over again in regards to writing, what would it be?

Write faster.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Chocolate.

Food you like the most? The least?

I tend to like Italian food the most. I can’t stand brussel sprouts or peas.

Favorite television show?

Supernatural

What weapon would you choose in the zombie apocalypse?

Harry Potter’s wand or maybe Dean Winchester. He’d be a formidable weapon against zombies, right? <grin>

What scares you?

Humanity. The way people treat others, animals, or the environment.

Tour Coordinator: Fae Books Tours
For information please view the website and use the Contact page to get in touch with Sarah Fae of Fae Books.

Michelle Muto: Don’t Fear the Reaper (Excerpt)

Guys, today I’m showcasing Michelle Muto! She’s been on the blog a few times with her previous works and she’s sharing out a special excerpt of her release, Don’t Fear the Reaper. Read the synopsis and excerpt – then go buy your copy with the links below! (Due to subject matter, this book is recommended for mature teens or older.)

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Synopsis:
Haunted by memories of her murdered twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her only ticket to eternal peace. But in death, she discovers the afterlife is nothing like she expected. Instead of peaceful oblivion or a joyful reunion with her sister, Keely is trapped in a netherworld on Earth with only a bounty-hunting reaper and a sarcastic demon to show her the ropes.

When the demon offers Keely her ultimate temptation–revenge on her sister’s killer–she must determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, the reaper and demon have been keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true–that her every decision changes how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

Chapter One:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for they are with me.

I repeated my version of the psalm as I watched the ribbon of blood drift from my wrist. I’d hoped it would be a distraction—something to stop me from wondering what my sister’s dying thoughts had been. Exhaling slowly, I let the emptiness consume me.

Jordan had kept my secrets and I had kept hers. In the end, it came down to just one secret between us that took her life. Now, it would take mine. I should have said something, but nothing I said or did now could bring her back or make anyone understand what she meant to me.

Are you here, Jordan? Are you with me? Tell me about heaven…

I told myself Jordan was gone, never coming back, but her memories continued to haunt me. I had no idea if there even was an afterlife. If God existed, I was convinced he had given up on me. Not once did I sense he’d heard a single one of my prayers. I wasn’t asking for the world—I only wanted to know if my sister was safe and at peace. What was so hard about that?

She should still be here. It wasn’t fair.

I’d been the difficult one—much more than Jordan. For a while, I’d even gotten into drugs. Mom and Dad had worried I’d get Jordan into drugs, too. But I wouldn’t. Not ever. Besides, that part of my life had been over long before Jordan’s death. A small gargoyle tattoo on my left shoulder was all that remained of my previous lifestyle.

Mom and Dad started treating me differently after Jordan’s funeral two months ago. She and I were twins, so I understood how hard it was for them to look at me and not see her. Sometimes, they wouldn’t look at me at all. Mom went to the psychiatrist, but no one asked if I needed to talk to someone about what happened. No one asked if I needed sleeping pills or antidepressants. Yeah, sure. Don’t give the former addict pills of any sort.

Not one person saw the all-consuming suffering that gnawed at my soul. Why couldn’t anyone see? Jordan had been more than my sister—she’d been my Samson, my strength. I would have done anything for her, and yet, I’d failed her. I wasn’t the one who’d killed her, but I might as well have been. How could I ever live with that? My heart had a stillness to it since her death.

I shall fear no evil.

I couldn’t very well recite the first part of Psalm 23 because it said I shall not want, and I did want. I wanted to go back in time. I wanted my sister back. Clearly, goodness and mercy were never going to be part of my life ever again. In my mind, I saw myself walking through the iron gates of hell with demons cackling gleefully all around.

I didn’t want to die. Not really. I was just tired and didn’t know of another way to stop the pain. Doctors removed a bad appendix. Dentists pulled rotten teeth. What was I supposed to do when my very essence hurt, when the cancer I’d come to call depression made every decent memory agonizingly unbearable?

Before I’d gotten down to cutting my wrist (I managed to only cut one), I’d taken a few swigs of Dad’s tequila—the good kind he kept in the basement freezer. I’d used another swig or two to chase down the remainder of Mom’s sleeping pills in the event I failed to hit an artery or vein. Then I’d set the bottle on the ledge of the tub in case I needed further liquid encouragement. Instead of using a knife or a razor, I attached a cutting blade to my Dad’s Dremel. The Dremel was faster, I reasoned. More efficient.

It would have been easier to OD, I suppose. But I felt closer to my sister this way, to suffer as she’d suffered.

I recited the line from Psalms 23 again. It had become my personal mantra.

The words resonated in my parents’ oversized bathroom. I’d chosen theirs because the Jacuzzi tub was larger than the tub in the hall bathroom. Jordan and I used to take bubble baths together in this same tub when we were little.

Innocence felt like a lifetime ago. I searched the bathroom for bubble bath but came up short. Soap might have made the laceration hurt more so it was probably just as well. Besides, the crimson streaming from my wrist like watercolor on silk was oddly mesmerizing.

The loneliness inside proved unrelenting, and the line from the psalms made me feel better. I prayed for the agony inside me to stop. I argued with God. Pleaded. But after all was said and done, I just wanted the darkness to call me home.

I tried not to think of who would find my body or who’d read the note I’d left. I blamed myself not only for failing Jordan, but for failing my parents, too.

My lifeline to this existence continued to bleed out into the warm water. Killing myself had been harder than I’d imagined. I hadn’t anticipated the searing fire racing through my veins. I reached for the tequila with my good arm but couldn’t quite manage. Tears welled in my eyes.

Part of me foolishly felt Jordan was here. The other part feared she wasn’t.

Give me a sign, Sis. Just one.

I imagined seeing my parents at my funeral—their gaunt faces, red-eyed and sleepless. How could I do this to them? Wasn’t the devastation of losing one child enough?

No. Stop. A voice in my head screamed. Don’t do this. Don’t. Please…

I shifted my body, attempted to get my uncooperative legs under me. I could see the phone on my parents’ nightstand. I could make it that far. Had to. The voice was right. I didn’t want to do this. I felt disorientated, dizzy. Darkness crept along the edges of my vision. Focusing became difficult. A sweeping shadow of black caught my attention. Someone stood in the bathroom—not my sister. A man. Had I managed to call 911? I couldn’t remember getting out of the tub. And why’d I get back in? Did I use a towel?

Mom is going to be pissed when she sees the blood I’ve tracked all over the bedroom carpet.

“I’m sorry,” I told the man in black.

“It’s okay, Keely. Don’t be afraid.” Not my father’s voice. It was softer, with a hint of sorrow. Distant. Fleeting. Later, I’d feel embarrassed about this, but for now I was safe from the nothing I’d almost become. My teeth clattered from the chill. My eyelids fluttered in time with my breaths. The tub water had turned the color of port wine. The ribbons, the pretty, red watercolor ribbons were gone.

Dull gray clouded my sight.

A voice whispered to me, and my consciousness floated to the surface again.

“—okay, Keely.”

Cold. So cold.

“I’m right here.”

There was no fear in me as the man bent forward, his face inches from mine. He was my father’s age, and yet strangely older. His eyes were so…blue, almost iridescent. The irises were rimmed in a fine line of black, and the creases etched at the corners reminded me of sunbeams as he gave me a weak smile. The oddly. Dressed. Paramedic. A warm hand reached into the water and cradled mine. My fingers clutched his. I sighed, feeling myself floating, drifting. Light—high and intense exploded before me. No! Too much. Too much! I shuddered and labored to catch my breath, but it wouldn’t come.

Finally, the comfort of darkness rose to greet me.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
B&N
iTunes
Smashwords

Where to Find Michelle:

Michelle’s blog
Michelle on Twitter
Michelle on Facebook

NEW RELEASE! THE HAUNTING SEASON

You guys probably already know I’m a big fan of Michelle Muto – I did a review of her book, “The Book of Lost Souls” way back when I first started my blog. I am SO excited to help spread the news of her latest release. Readers who love to be spooked should pick up their copy ASAP (and don’t forget to plug in your nightlight!)

THE HAUNTING SEASON
New Adult/Horror Recommended for readers 17+
TheHauntingSeason

Be careful what you let in…
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

Available now!
Amazon US

Cover Reveal: The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto, Coming December 2012

Boy oh boy, do I have a cover reveal for you! My friend Michelle Muto, author of Don’t Fear the Reaper and The Book of Lost Souls, is about to release her next title and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy. As I’m writing my own stories that involve a creep factor, I love reading other titles that help inspire me to get all spooked out (until it’s time for bed and then I’m just angry with myself). Michelle is such a fabulous writer and a wonderful world-builder. Trust me, you guys will want to read The Haunting Season. Read on for the description, plus how to add it to your Goodreads shelf and how to tell Michelle how excited you are to read her new book:

Mature YA (some language, violence, sex)

Be careful what you let in…

Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.

The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.

Coming December 2012

Add to your Goodreads reading list
Michelle’s Amazon Page
Michelle on Twitter
Michelle on FB
Michelle’s blog