Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Last Seer and the Tomb of Enoch by Ashland Menshouse




Can a ghost haunt more than your home? Can a Sasquatch track more than footprints?

Aubrey Taylor's quaint and cozy life in the subdued, Appalachian town of Lake Julian had never been exceptional. Shouldered by his lifelong friends, Buzz Reiselstein and Rodriqa Auerbach, he quietly endured the puerile punishments of a persistent pack of pesky bullies that included the most-feared kid in school, Magnos Strumgarten, and his own obnoxiously, well-accomplished brother, Gaetan. Comfortable in his humdrum niche of the absolutely average, Aubrey never pushed back.

Until...fate dug a little too deep...and the unseen darkness of unspoken places rattled his mediocrity.

When spurious specters and elusive mountain men battle for a tomb of Watchers, buried in ages past, only those who choose to look beyond the surface feel the grip of the ancients' revenge. Unusual disappearances, a colorful cadre of insightful townsfolk and a whirlwind of blunders and mishaps exposes the struggling forces that transform Aubrey and his friends into more than spectators amidst the oldest war of all.

Prepare yourself to see the unseen as you've never seen it before.





  CORNERED CONTENDERS
Darkness shrouded the valley of Lake Julian as the sun’s ruddy twilight rays disappeared behind the slopes of the aging, forest-capped mountains. Scattered along byways and creeks, pinpoints of lights streamed skyward from streetlamps and parking lots, which were nestled between hovels of pine and oak and patches of grassy fields. Ablaze with blinding beams of orange and white spotlights, a majestic white concrete dam held back the lapping waters of the sparkling lake as cars passed along the highway across the dam’s crown.
Throughout the Appalachian town, yellowed beams from headlights crisscrossed streets and glinted through neighborhoods with retiring mothers and fathers arriving home to their families. Children gathered around dining room tables to grab an early taste of the evening meal. The blue glow of televisions and computers cast an electric glaze on windows, and a familiar foghorn blared in the distance.
The cooling air from the hills was still, and peace rested soundly over every house in town.
But peace wasn’t paying attention.
In a forested, forgotten corner of Lake Julian, swirling wisps spun windy whirls between a mingling mesh of tree limbs and brindled bushes. The evening breeze whistled a warning atop the canopy. Blue jays and chickadees folded their wings and huddled low in their nests. Crickets ceased their chirping, and the cicadas’ buzzing faded out. A somber chill settled over the wilderness.
A gray haze rushed through the woods. Transparent chains clinked through twirling leaves, and dust spewed into the air behind the racing mist. The haze slowed, and a face appeared. It turned its head and scanned the forest with its deep-set, sallow eyes. The misty form tried to wrench its body from the ground, but its chains pulled it back tightly to the ground. The ghost scowled at the silence, and an angry scar creased across its filmy cheek.
Deeper in the woods, charging stomps pounded the forest floor in the distance. Twigs crackled and large patches of grasses flattened under an immense weight. The ghost turned toward the source of the noise, acknowledging its hidden stalker, and fled in the opposite direction.
The long, hairy arms of the stalker swung quickly at its sides as it charged up the hill, its momentum building even as the steepness increased. The beast’s jagged fangs dripped with spit, and its red, glowing eyes jolted and weaved through the darkness as it hunted its prey through the thick foliage.
The creature gained swiftly on the ghost. But the ghost found its haven.
Like wooden sentinels, a line of white pine trees lined the edge of the forest. The canopy opened up, and a thicket of gravestones jutted up from the ground at the crest of the hill. The ghost escaped the forest and rolled over the cemetery in smoky silence, sinking slowly into the earth.
The beast sprang from the edge of the forest and stopped suddenly at the sight of the partially buried, rusted iron wall that bordered the walled plots and tombstones of the cemetery. The stalker twisted its neckless head from side to side, searching for the ghost. A sour fog fumed from its stout nose while it trundled down the hill, glimpsing around walls and behind graves. The creature stopped at the lichgate. The front section of the iron fence was pitched forward, lured into the ground by erosion and time. The stalker eyed the circular figurine adorning the lichgate’s crest. The beast now understood the plot of its prey.
The stalker took a single, mindful step inside the cemetery. A familiar slink of an ancient horror sifted between headstones. The creature jerked back quickly.
With heated breath, the monster howled fiercely, shattering the sleepy valley’s sullen silence. A new refrain to an old battle filled the creature’s heart.
Aubrey’s eyelids stood at attention. He did everything he could to try to force them shut, but they simply would not close. His eyes reminded him of a set of Venus fly traps, shuttering erratically, desperately attempting to capture a mischievous fly or a spindly spider that remained just out of reach. But the prey of sleep eluded his restless mind.
The morning was racing more and more quickly to the present, and the more Aubrey considered his rapidly evaporating time for rest, the more his anxiety energized him. He glanced at his alarm clock…
...and he sighed in exasperation. Why couldn’t he simply lay his head back, relax all his muscles and unplug his brain? He had already counted sheep, thought of a happy place and drunk four glasses of milk without a hint of a yawn. Now he was left wondering why sheep counting would ever work in the first place, if there was a happier place than his favorite ice cream shop, and how long would it be before he needed to pee. The clock changed.



Hi! and welcome.  I'm so pleased that you could take a little time to be here today.  Jumping right in - Tell us about your current release.

Can a ghost haunt more than your home?  Can a Bigfoot track more than footprints? 
Aubrey Taylor’s cozy life in the subdued, Appalachian town of Lake Julian had never been exceptional.   Shouldered by his lifelong friends, Buzz Reiselstein and Rodriqa Auerbach, he quietly endured the thrashings of a persistent pack of pesky bullies, which included the most-feared kid in school, Magnos Strumgarten, and his own obnoxiously, well-accomplished brother, Gaetan.  Comfortable in his humdrum niche of the absolutely average, Aubrey never pushed back…
…until fate dug a little too deep, and the unseen darkness of unspoken places stole his mediocrity.
When spurious specters and elusive mountain men battle for a tomb of Watchers, buried in ages past, only those who choose to search beyond the surface feel the grip of the ancients’ revenge.   Unusual disappearances, a colorful cadre of insightful townsfolk and a whirlwind of blunders and mishaps exposes the struggling forces that transform Aubrey and his friends into more than spectators amidst the oldest war of all.
Prepare to see the unseen as you’ve never seen it before.


Cool!!  I understand this is a planned three book trilogy.  What can you tell us about the next adventure?


I’ve nearly completed the second book, and I’ve already begun the third.  Below is the teaser for the second book.   Spoiler alert – it does give a few things away from the end of my current release.

The Watchers’ Tomb is sealed and buried.

The Bigfoot are at rest.

And yet, for six months, Lake Julian has only enjoyed a restless peace.

Most say the rumors of ghosts and suspicious shadows are the figments of childish conjecture or the product of juvenile delinquency.  Some disagree. 

Aubrey Taylor’s list of enemies and critics is quickly surpassing the number in his tiny band of compatriots.  Maximillian Miller has recently been elected to the head of the city council.  Agenda number one -- the elimination of peddlers of preternatural poppycock. 

In addition, more than local eyes have noticed Aubrey’s unearthly aptitude, and ancient threats loom from near and far.

But Aubrey’s fight has a more urgent front.  An army of chupacabra have descended upon Lake Julian, afflicting the residents with an inexplicable plague, and only Aubrey and his friends, both old and new, with their unique array of supernatural faculties, can save their town and prove that they are not at the heart of this new menace.

How do you describe your writing style?

Evolving.  As I’m finishing up my second book, I feel like I’ve improved and grown as a writer.   The more I write, the more I challenge myself and refine my style, driving me to want to write more, simply to see what happens


Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I do.  It’s a family and geographically important name.  My real name is common, and I wanted to separate my writing from my day-to-day profession

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

Names and chapter titles in my books are tiny imagination explosions.  I have a lot of fun trying to be creative, and sometimes thought-provokingly cute, but at times quirkily obnoxious.  Regardless, the names usually have some significance, which is not always privy to the reader.  Some of them are personal jokes between the book and me. 

What makes you happy?

Smiles.  A gook joke.  Justice.  A full belly.  True Love. 

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

        Releasing (the) restless beast

Lol!!  Sounds like my kind of medicine! Well, that's it from me for this time.  Thanks again! It's been great finding out a little about you and your trilogy.



The Last Seer and the Tomb of Enoch is Ashland Menshouse’s debut novel. Ashland Menshouse received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. He obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky and completed post-doctoral studies at Emory University. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spends most of his time working with ill and injured children. Current projects include this novel’s sequel, The Last Guardian and the Keeper of the Magi.

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8 comments:

Courtney Wyant said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!

Shauna Buck said...

Sounds good! What's with Appalachia always having creepy stuff?

Kimberly Lim said...

Thanks fro the giveaway

Helen said...

I would love the chance to read this

Suz said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

Suz Reads

Jennifer Haile said...

Thank you for the giveaway!

Kara D. said...

Even the title sounds awesome!

Gakuen Alice said...

Thank you for the giveaway !

songo_ac@hotmail.com